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Cinema, documentary, and the visual arts

Regarding the real: cinema, documentary, and the visual arts develops an approach to the study of documentary film focussing on its aesthetic and cultural relations to the modern visual arts, especially: animation, assemblage, photography, painting, and architecture. In particular, it examines how documentary practices have often incorporated methods and expressive techniques derived from these art forms. Combining close analysis with cultural history, the book re-assesses the influence of the modern visual arts in subverting the structures of realism typically associated with documentary film, and considers the work of figures whose preferred film language is associative, and fragmentary, and for whom the documentary remains an open form, an unstable expressive phenomenon that at its best interrogates its own narratives, and intentions. In the course of its discussion, the book charts a path that leads from Len Lye to Hiroshi Teshigahara, and includes along the way figures such as Joseph Cornell, Johan van der Keuken, William Klein, Jean-Luc Godard, Jonas Mekas, Raymond Depardon.

Of all Eisenstein’s films Strike retains best of all the promise and mutual interests of the Russian cultural avant-garde and of the Bolshevik political revolution. Strike is both a great film of European modernism and a testament to the energies and hopes of the Bolshevik Revolution. Before Eisenstein made Strike in 1925, he had worked for some years after the Revolution in theatre

in Montage
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Chantal Akerman was one of Europe's most acclaimed and prolific contemporary directors, who came to prominence with Jeanne Dielman, 23, quai du Commerce, and 1080 Bruxelles. Her family history is intimately bound up with the horrors of the Holocaust. Akerman was born in Brussels on 6 June 1950, the first child of Jewish Polish immigrants who settled in Belgium in the late 1930s. Filmmaking, for her, was an imaginative and creative engagement with the silence that weighed heavily on her childhood. Behind the multiple guises of Akerman, this book seeks to present a cinema that crystallises questions that are at the heart of our post-war, post-Holocaust, post-feminist sensibility. It identifies the characteristics of her avant-garde work of the 1970s, the period most closely influenced by American structuralist film and performance art. The book surveys her work in the following decade in the context of post-modernism, the new aesthetic of kitsch and the emergence of a new hedonism in Western critical discourses. It is dedicated to her documentary work of the 1990s and 2000s, which sheds light on the central ethical and aesthetic concerns behind her work. The book discusses her attempts to penetrate into the mainstream, her renewed engagement with the themes of love and desire, and her further exploration of the permeable boundaries between autobiography and fiction. What emerges forcefully in Akerman's cinema, is a persistent engagement with the forms and conditions of human existence.

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with realism, four with intuitionist modernism. European Film Theory and Cinema was, therefore, a book about intuitionist modernist realism, rather than a conventional ‘introduction’ to film theory. In addition to this intuitionist modernist and realist orientation, European Film Theory and Cinema also attempted a twofold stratagem of recuperation and elision. The effort at recuperation was

in Realist film theory and cinema
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most vital artistic movements of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, including a politically progressive naturalism, and most forms of modernism. Lukács’ disavowal of naturalism eventually proved relatively uncontroversial, given the extent to which the classical naturalist tradition had fallen out of favour by the 1930s; and, while the inter-war period in Europe saw the

in Lukácsian film theory and cinema
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Elsewhere Godard’s For Ever Mozart was made in 1996. It refers directly to the civil war and massacres in ex-Yugoslavia (Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo) that were taking place. It was a situation away from Europe, elsewhere, yet here, on its borders, in a European country that most of Europe seemed unable or unwilling to do much about. Here and Elsewhere have been a central preoccupation in Godard’s films. One of them, which concerns the situation in Palestine/Israel, has the title Ici et Ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere) (1974) and there is as well Made in USA (1966

in Film modernism
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different. If I had to make a modern film, I would not know where to seek my settings; it seems to me that everything is less interesting, that is, less stimulating. European society up to the First World War was one of extreme contrasts and significant aesthetic achievements. The contemporary 52 Film modernism world is so much the same, so grey, much less refined, wouldn’t you agree?) Luchino Visconti5 As most narrative films develop their story and move forward to the conclusion of that development, they create their own past. Each event consigns preceding ones by a

in Film modernism
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mise en scène is modern precisely because it is avoids modernism’s excesses in favour of classical equilibrium, and innovative to the extent that, unlike its competitors, it stakes no claim to revolutionising the medium. This enlightened conservatism, tailored to a limited yet discerning public, looks askance at its historical moment, as if to declare its indifference toward the busier, noisier aesthetic that has become the

in Eric Rohmer
Alfred Hitchcock and Anthony Asquith

[…] until Peter Greenaway, Derek Jarman and other film-makers emerged in the 1980s.’ 2 During the 1920s, the French, German and Soviet cinemas produced films which formed part of the broader artistic culture of European modernism and had direct links to movements such as expressionism, Dada, surrealism and constructivism. These films are now acknowledged as canonical in the history of art cinema and principal constituents of what Andrew Tudor has called ‘the period of “formation” during which the very status of cinema as art was a central focus for struggle’. 3 In

in British art cinema

veterans known as gueules cassées (‘broken mugs’), among whom Blaise Cendrars made a cameo, since he’d lost his right arm at the front. Of course, in the film the living had no retort. European modernity had argued that utopia and humanism ultimately outweighed the negative aspects of innovation, exploitation, alienation, and colonization. Post-war modernism faced a radical quandary: what should now be the project of modernity? How could science, nationalism, commerce – even intellectuals themselves, who had been largely pro-war as a class whether in France or Germany

in Jean Epstein