Murch’s piece reminds me of the interactive notion of “frame”, which comes from linguistics and communication theories. Tannen and Wallat (1993) define frame as a sense of what activity is being engaged in, how speakers mean what they say. It is frame that contextualizes people’s “speech activity” (Gumperz, 1982), provides expectations and assumptions which a listener/reader/watcher must know to correctly interpret an utterance and to continue the intended conversation, and directs participants to respond playfully or seriously, because they believe/expect they are in a “playful” or “serious” frame and they want to follow the guidelines/expectations.
I read Murch’s film as a frame of unreality/dream, or multiple frames of different themes/emotions divided by cuts, and people need to exchange signals which carry meta-information to identify these frame(s) with the director/editor. Therefore, rates and rhythms of blinking become such frame identifier, because they are “contextualization cues” (Gumperz, 1982), which cover any verbal or nonverbal sign that helps speakers (in this case, directors/editors) hint at, or clarify, and listeners (in this case, audience) to make “inferences”—mental processes that allow conversationalists to evoke the cultural background and social expectations necessary to interpret speech (in this case, the frame(s) of the film). So I would also think blink is “grammaticalizing” as new kinds of punctuation markers, which give hints to connect the director/editor and the audience’s own feeling, thoughts and expectations, allowing audience “to trust” and “to give themselves to the film”.
When I read Mulhall’s “film as philosophizing”, “philosophy of film” and “film as philosophy”, I was thinking about Luciano Floridi’s arguments of information as reality, information about reality, and information for reality… Hm, I’m not sure if they have any connection, but I feel they share something in common in their logics. In addition, Mulhall’s discussion of “Ripley’s voice” seems a comparison between feminism and masculinism. I’m curious of this comparison because I’m a science fiction movie fan. In most sci-fi movies, man is dominant and woman is somewhat “decorative”. However, women are usually the survivors (at least one of the survivors, if not the only one), while most male characters would be killed. It’s very interesting to see how those films manipulate the gender roles and how our expectation/mental models interpret them.