The Argument (with annotations)
Cockburn, Daniel Ernest
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The Argument (with annotations) is an appropriated-footage essay about metaphor specifically, the seemingly commonplace human knack for constructing and understanding metaphors. Its unseen narrator's line of thought takes us on a jagged path past the works of T.S. Eliot, Groucho Marx, John Carpenter, and Terence Davies, plus some lackadaisical astronomy and a 1960s television series with a very distinctive font. There is also a riddle about mirrors that's either the best riddle about mirrors you've ever heard or the worst one. That's what the film is for a while, anyway. Then something else happens. The Argument is intended as a riff on the genres of the essay-film and the more recent video essay form, a riff whose narrators authority is called into question, and whose audience, thinking they are watching an appropriated-footage piece, has the rug pulled out from underneath them when they find that they are watching a fiction film.