By Michael O'Pray
Avant-Garde movie: varieties, topics and Passions examines the range of matters and practices that experience comprised the lengthy background of avant-garde movie at a degree applicable 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 yankee Underground cinema and the French New Wave, structuralism and modern gallery paintings of the younger British artists. via in-depth case-studies, the publication introduces scholars not just to the background of the avant-garde but in addition to various analytical methods to the movies 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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Additional info for Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions (Short Cuts)
This can only be a criticism of the work around the Close Up group and others of the same ilk. In a similar vein, Paul Rotha describes Close Up as ‘cultish’ (1973: 33). The 1930s can be seen, with hindsight, to have been the fruitful culmination of the 1920s’ passion for film expressed in the work of the Film Society and Close Up. Attempts have been made to de-mythologise the decade, to undermine its monolithic presence by pointing to its diverse aesthetics and politics. Different styles and genres jostle against each other as do quite distinct voices, attitudes and political ideologies.
The urgency felt by film-makers, the impulse to action, not only reflected the politics of the time but also the underlying influence of a Soviet-style commitment shared with early Surrealism. Political and social demands made aesthetics its hand-servant. Oswald Blakeston remembered that he wanted ‘to do something quick and magic’ (quoted in Dusinberre 1979: 46). Grierson believed that the dedication to the social use of film delivered success where ‘other aesthetic and aestheticky movements ...
But it is an acted story of those events told with all the energetic and assertive confidence and brilliance of Eisenstein’s montage method. In many ways October mirrors what John Ford (admired by Eisenstein), perhaps less consciously, was doing for America in his westerns and with the same respect for mythology. To this extent it is a moral film insofar as socialist values take precedence over strict historical truth. indd 29 9/6/07 5:10:58 pm SHORT CUTS Let us examine two famous sequences as examples of Eisenstein’s experimental method.