Film 2700 history of the motion picture professor sheldon schiffer
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FILM 2700: HISTORY OF THE MOTION PICTURE PROFESSOR SHELDON SCHIFFER. MAYMESTER VERSION Office hours: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Daily Office : 25 Park Place South – Room 1023 phone : 404-413- 5623 email : [email protected] edu http:// [ Lecture 9].

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MAYMESTER VERSIONOffice hours: 4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Daily

Office: 25 Park Place South – Room 1023

phone: 404-413-5623

email: [email protected]

[Lecture 9]

Modernism in Motion: European and Asian Cinema Define the Modernist Movement

Europe was devastated and the US loaned billions to rebuild it. The infrastructure for cinema culture was greatly diminished, but the demand for entertainment was there for the US to negotiate favorable terms with the Western allied countries for its Hollywood products. But how would indigenous cinema culture survive and rejuvenate under these conditions? And if so, would the happy endings and unambiguous closures of Hollywood films satisfy the survivors of the WWII apocalypse?

Economic OrganizationIn a (Post WWII Colonized) Europe

  • US - International Marketing Agency

  • The Motion Picture Export Association of America (MPEAA) founded to insure US position for Hollywood in foreign markets

  • Argued that it was a rhetorical bulwark against communist and fascist ideologies

  • In reality, it was a means to force low domestic quotas and liberal penetration of US product onto foreign screens, for maximum ability to take profits back out of the host country.

Historical Question 9.1

  • How did the post-War European nations resist colonization of their film industries by Hollywood?

Economic OrganizationIn a (Post WWII Colonized) Europe

  • All countries countered with measures to protect domestic production

    • Germany, the losing country, wrested liberal access to Hollywood

    • Italy, a loser, still setup laws to protect own screens–Andreotti Law of 1949

    • France and the UK, allied winners, created many protectionist barriers

    • Quotas on maximum number of American movies

    • Quotas on maximum hours of screen time per week or days per year of American movies

Economic OrganizationIn a (Post WWII Colonized) Europe

  • All countries countered with measures to protect domestic production

    • Flat fee for each American imported film

    • Frozen profits must remains within host country

    • Direct support of domestic production with government funded agencies

    • Tax on movie ticket for all films to support domestic production

    • European countries created treaties with each other for international co-productions

Historical Question 9.2

  • What new technologies and cultural institutions assisted the European and developing world film industries to produce indigenous and resist Hollywood?

Technological Innovations in Response to Destroyed Studios

  • 35mm Handheld Reflex Cameras with Interchangeable Magazine

    • Germany’sArriflex – Arriflex

    • France’s Éclair Caméflex

Cultural Innovations to Create Cultural Identity for European Content

  • Film Festivals

    • Venice (Italy),

    • Cannes (France),

    • Locarno (Switzerland),

    • Karlovy Vary (Czech)

Historical Question 9.3

  • What aesthetic principle are oppositional to Classical Hollywood?

  • What are the characteristics of Cinematic Modernism?

  • [Hint: These answers overlap.]

Modernism in the Arts Defined

  • The concept of modernism is born first from the plastic and design arts. Modernism generally defined, refers to the expressive qualities of an art form where its most implicit material aspects bring the viewer/reader to a reflexive awareness of the making of that work of art.

  • Often stripped of all aspect that infiltrate from other art forms, that which remains is the essence of the modernist expression for that art form.

  • For cinema, after WWII, modernism as an art movement began to formulate itself in all places outside Hollywood, and to a degree within Hollywood.

Cinematic Modernism

  • Revelation of creative act and production process by author

  • Abstraction of form down to most elemental characteristics of the medium (movement, graphical shapes, photographic trace)

  • Moral and Factual ambiguity

  • Fragmentation and discontinuity of time and space, or presentation of literal real time

  • Randomness

  • Subjective POV

  • Awareness and/or presentation of the unconscious in character and/or authorial voice

In Opposition to Classical Hollywood

  • Hides the production process

  • Presentation of “objective” POV, hiding subjectivity

  • Three act structure around a hero’s journey toward a singular objective, with beginning, middle and end in that order

  • Narrative structure emphasizing cause and effect logic and chronology (opposes randomness)

  • Unambiguous moral and factual truths

  • Idealized and “naturalized’ roles of family, gender, race, ethnicity

  • Integration of other art forms to the service of narrative

Modernisms as an Expression of National Identity

  • Aside from the economic distinctions of European film conditions, filmmakers turned again to European art movements.

  • After WWII, the concept of Modernism, took root, and in various national cinemas was applied a mean to express what Hollywood nor the genres that Hollywood had formalized, could not.

Cinematic ModernismThat Expresses "Objectivity"

  • Veracity through Objective Realism – presenting to the viewer the unpleasant and uneventful aspects of modern life, or taking that which is quite traumatic and presenting it with a de-dramatized artistic attitude (less emotional or melodramatic)

  • Long unbroken takes – provides the sense that ideas and feelings accumulate in real time, characters and audience share the same stretch of time to accumulate the experience, author is guiding viewer to see what is important

  • Randomness­ – allowing aspects of the filming or editing to be affected by uncontrolled forces, such as weather, untrained non-actors, real locations with real activities happening simultaneously

  • Natural sound with detailed effects – including sound that is more expressive of the environment, then the characters

Cinematic Modernism that Express Subjectivity vis-á-vísCharacter

  • Character Subjectivity through reflexive form – using camera or editing where audience experiences the psychological motives and states of characters through the formal traces of the film medium

  • Affected Acting Styles – halting or fragmented action, abrupt or unmotivated shifts in character attitude, less expository voice over

  • Presentation of the unconscious through dreams, memories, fantasies, hallucinations - often as unframed scenes, and as realistic experiences, no less real than “objectively” presented scenes

Cinematic Modernism that Express Subjectivity vis-á-vísCharacter

  • Spatially dissociative sound and image – presenting cutaways not in the space of characters just seen, creating disorientation and de-anchoring of time and place for audience that goes unresolved for some time

  • Ambiguity­moral and factual uncertainty of character behavior, causal uncertainty to the action on screen, uncertainty of character intention,

Cinematic Modernism that Express Subjectivity vis-á-vís Author

  • Authorial Subjectivity through reflexive form – using camera or editing where audience becomes aware of the invasive hand of the author toward constructing the experience,

  • Jump cuts of picture and sound – creating discontinuous action

  • Spatially dissociative sound and image – presenting cutaways not in the space of location just seen, creating disorientation and de-anchoring of time and place for audience that goes unresolved for some time

Cinematic Modernism that Express Subjectivity vis-á-vís Author

  • Authorial commentary – through camera movement, editing, sound, music or any other cinematic means

  • Ellipsis – allowing for missing parts for the audience imagination to ponder and debate

  • Ambiguity –  morally uncertain judgment of character behaviors, causal uncertainty to the behavior on screen, uncertainty of authorial intention

Historical Question 9.4

  • For each non-American national cinema, what aspects of cinematic Modernism does the national cinema use?

Italian New-Realism

  • Life in a war torn environment

  • Critical attitudes toward Roman history

  • Idealized myths in art were contradicted and rejected by artists.

  • Filmmakers sought to represent life as it seemed, unsweetened by ideals, and using the equipment available.

Italian New-Realism

  • Open City (1945) and Paisan (1946), Roberto Rosellini– events of war 1943-44, in Rome  under Nazis and Italian fascists as partisans resist and die, and in coutryside, as Allied troops invade Italy

  • Bicycle Thief (1948), Vittorio de Sica – Father and son worker in seek of stolen bicycle needed for survival, ultimately try to steal another

  • Ossessione (1943), Luciano Visconti – banned during war by Fascists, based on Postman Rings Twice story, drifter hooks up with married woman and plot to murder husband

Post-War Attitudes Beyond Europe

  • While Europe divided into Soviet-Aligned or NATO-Aligned states, the rest of the world faced off as proxy cites of ideological orientation between these same powers

Other Neo-RealismsAs Post-War Attitudes

  • Some nations were re-colonized through forms of economic dependence.

  • Raw materials could not be manufactured unless through a developed First (NATO-US) or Second (Sino-Soviet) state.

  • Often, these countries were controlled by puppet democracies or dictatorships where the political class benefitted

Neo-Realism as Post-War Attitudes

  • The artisanal filmmakers of each of the countries below exchange and interpret their realities through the aesthetics of modernism, as largely expressed through the aesthetics Neo-Realism roughly during the years indicated:

Neo-Realism as Post-War Attitudes

  • Italy (1945-58)
Filmmakers: Rossellini, deSica
Movement Name: Original Neorealists

  • France (1959)
Filmmakers: Truffaut (some argue 400 Blows is more neo-realist then new wave)

  • Germany (1945-58)
Filmmakers: Staudt, Lorre, Lang
Movement Name: Trümmeflm movement (Rubble film)

  • Spain (1951-55)
Filmmakers: Berlanga, BardemPoland (1950-60)
Filmmakers: Wajda, Ford, Kalwerowicz
Movement Name: Polish School

Neo-Realism as Post-War Attitudes

  • China (1945-60)
Filmmakers: Fu Mei, Junli

  • Brazil (1950-62)
Filmmakers: dos Santos

  • Cuba (1959-69)
Filmmakers: Alea
Movement Name: Cine-Liberación

  • Japan (1950-60)
Filmmakers Naruse, Mizoguchi and Ozu
Movement Name: Gendai-geki (films in contemporary period)
Movement Name: Shomin-geki (films of ordinary life)

Neo-Realism as Post-War Attitudes

  • USSR (1953-58)
Filmmakers Chukrai, Kaltazov, Eisenstein (last years of life)Movement Name: Socialist Realism Liberalized (by de-Stalinized New Humanism after Stalin's death)

  • India (1953-77)
Filmmakers: Dutt, Ghatak, Ray
Movement Name: Parallel Cinema

  • Algeria/Italy (1966)
Filmmakers: Pontecorvo (Battle of Algiers)

  • Argentina (1955-62)
Filmmakers: Birri

  • Mexico (1946-65)
Filmmakers: Buñuel (neo-realist period), Fernandez

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