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Avant-garde or Art House?

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Samantha Sacco

on 17 February 2014

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Transcript of Avant-garde or Art House?

Avant-garde or Art House?
Question
Avant-Garde?

Are these films really 'avant-garde' or are they 'art house'?

Is it a political agenda that marks out an avant-garde film?
Marxism
The struggle between social classes is a major force in history and there eventually should be a society in which there are no classes.
Counter-cinema
Wollen (1978) identified 7 features:

Narrative Transivity
Identification
Transparency
Single Diegesis
Closure
Pleasure
Fiction
Classical Hollywood Film
ORDER : DISORDER : ORDER
VS
Narrative intrasivity
Estrangement
Foregrounding
Multiple Diegesis
Aperture
Unpleasure
Reality
Narrative Transitivity
vs
Narrative Intransitivity
Identification
vs
Estrangement
What is "Avant-Garde"?
IMPRESSIONISM
SURREALISM
Lukács
Brecht
Benjamin
Adorno
MODERNISM
POSTMODERNISM
Karl Marx
Political View
Activity
"No-one - or certainly, almost no-one - sees avant garde films without first having seen mass market commercial films. By the time most people see their first avant garde film, they have already seen hundreds of films in commercial theatres and on television, and there sense of what a movie is, has been almost indelibly imprinted in their conscious and unconscious minds."
Scott McDonald, 1993
Counter Cinema
"Institut Benjamenta"
Dir, The Quay Brothers, 1995
Oppositional cinema
"...denaturalises cinema to show that dominant cinematic language is not the only cinematic language and that new modes of subjectivity are possible, including that of the spectator as a producer of the text" (Hayward, 2006: 36)
"Distanciation"
Transparency vs Foregrounding
Bibliography
Bordwell, D. and Carroll, N. (1996) Post Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press.

Bordwell, D. and Thompson, K. (2013) Film Art: An Introduction, The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Braudy, L. and Cohen, M. (2009) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings. New York: Oxford University Press.

Calinescu, M. (1987) Five Faces of Modernity: Modernism, Avant-Garde, Decadence, Kitsch, Postmodern. Duke University Press.

Guynn, W. (2011) Film History. London: Routledge.

Hayward, S. (2006) Cinema Studies: The Key Concepts. 4th Edition. London: Routledge.

Kleinhans, C. (1975) 'Reading and Thinking about the avant-garde', Jump Cut: A Review of Contemporary Media, no.6, pp 21-25.

Landy, M. (1994) Film, Politics and Gramsci. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.

Lapsley, R. and Westlake, M. (2006) Film Theory: An Introduction, 2nd Edition. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

MacDonald, S. (1993) Avant Garde Film: Motion Studies, CUP Archive.

Verrone, W. (2012) The Avant-Garde Feature Film, McFarland & Compant Inc Publishers.
Partial views
soft focus
mainstream films - usually a clear plot, with a clear cause and effect structure.
counter cinema - "...in order to break the emotional hold of the narrative, the flow is disrupted by interruptions, digressions and the absence of immediately apparent connections."

(Lapsley and Westlake, 2006:192)
Closure
vs
Aperture
"The juxtaposition and re-contextualisation of discourses leads not to a seperating-out of meanings but to a confrontation."
Wollen (1972: 422) cited in Braudy and Cohen (2009)
Counter cinema, an open-endedness.
War of classes between those who control production and those who produce the goods and services.
Deconstructing the "typical"
Psychological portrayals of characters
"Cinema is concieved of as a drug that lulls and mollifies the militancy of the masses, by bribing them with pleasurable dreams, thus distracting them from the stern tasks which are their true identity." (Wollen, 1972: 424)
Radical movement - to perplex and shock
Influenced by Freudian psychology
Portray hidden secrets of unconscious
Marxism is applied to avant-garde films as they are trying to make social changes through art.
From a Marxist perspective, all films are political because one way or another they all have an ideological 'apparatus'.
Hollywood works hard to hide their ideological apparatus.
Avant-Garde goes against mainstream film making. Shows us the things dominant ideology wants to hide.
"Avant Garde still exists but it treads water and upsets no one.. Modern art no longer scandalizes its public."
Diana Crane
Art House Cinema
'Typically characterised by aesthetic norms that are different to classical narrative films and are made with a less rationalised system of production'
Improving and reshaping society and cultures in an increasingly industrial world
The Draughtsman's Contract-Art House?
'Art cinema was not intentionally devised as a counter-Hollywood cinema'
'No seamless cause and effect storyline'
Dilemmas are investigated but usually not resolved.
Mise en scene
(setting, lighting, movement, costume)
Editing
(Graphic, Spatial, Rhythmic, Temporal?)
Camera
(movement, shot size)
Sound
Analyse:
How would a Hollywood director introduce this differently?
Full transcript