Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions (Short Cuts) by Michael O'Pray

By Michael O'Pray

Avant-Garde movie: kinds, topics and Passions examines the range of issues and practices that experience comprised the lengthy historical past of avant-garde movie at a degree acceptable for undergraduate research. It covers the advancements of experimental film-making because the modernist explosion within the Nineteen Twenties in Europe via to the Soviet movie experiments, the yank Underground cinema and the French New Wave, structuralism and modern gallery paintings of the younger British artists. via in-depth case-studies, the ebook introduces scholars not just to the heritage of the avant-garde but in addition to numerous analytical methods to the flicks themselves - starting from abstraction (Richter, Ruttmann) to surreal visions (Bunuel, Wyn Evans), underground subversion (Jack Smith, Warhol) to experimental narrative (Deren and Antonioni).

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There is an ambivalence in fact in the attitudes of many vanguard film-makers to Hollywood throughout the 1920s and 1930s. As we shall see it is only in the postwar period that a more sustained and widely shared revulsion for Hollywood became common to avant-garde film-makers. The ‘montage’ method was at the centre of Eisenstein’s work. It had an enormous impact on cinema style. indd 28 9/6/07 5:10:57 pm AVANT-GARDE FILM realism. Nevertheless, it is an elusive notion even in Eisenstein’s own work and writings.

Many of its concerns – abstraction, improvisational free-flowing image-making, image and text, social critique, dream reveries – have had a continuing influence. It not only laid down markers for future aesthetic strategies but also for cultural and political opposition. And as we shall see in the next chapter, when this avant-garde is joined by the film experiments of the budding new state of the Soviet Union, the claim of the 1920s to being the great and defining period of the twentieth-century avant-gardes is fully substantiated.

It is, in other words, an attempt to show the filming of the film, its editing and eventual projection – the production and consumption process (but not its economics, for example). As a film, it is one of complex visual patterns and rhythms – of film image, of nature, of machines, of actions, of social behaviour, of bodies. It is also one of rhymes and metaphors and of the film-maker as a magician (revealing his tricks). It is in the film’s inseparable aspects of graphic forms, editing and visual semantics that it stands apart.

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