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:// schiffer.gsu.edu/wordpress/history. [ Lecture 11].

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FILM 2700: HISTORY OF THE MOTION PICTURE PROFESSOR SHELDON SCHIFFER

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Film 2700 history of the motion picture professor sheldon schiffer

FILM 2700: HISTORY OF THE MOTION PICTUREPROFESSOR SHELDON SCHIFFER

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

Office: 25 Park Place South – Room 1023

phone: 404-413-5623

email: [email protected]

http://schiffer.gsu.edu/wordpress/history


Lecture 11

[Lecture 11]

The Neo-Real becomes the New Wave:

Politics transforms into Style

The major combatants of WWII had mostly recovered economically. Since WWII, the capitalist economies approached the point of greatest affluence among the working and middle class. An entire generation of young people experienced leisure time with enough disposable income to enjoy more consumer items then ever before.


Historical question 11 1

Historical Question 11.1

  • What economic conditions gave rise to the European New Wave film movements?


Effects of rising economies on production and exhibition

Effects of Rising Economies on Production and Exhibition

  • Excess income and leisure time gave rise to enormous demand for movies.

  • Young people with their own income could segment the film audience into a youth sector.

  • Education became more accessible, and film schools grew and expanded to include more diverse populations throughout many nation states, urban centers.

  • With the decline of vertically integrated Hollywood, smaller production companies, distributors and exhibitors grew.


Effects of rising economies on production and exhibition1

Effects of Rising Economies on Production and Exhibition

  • Movie theaters that specialized in showing cheaply rented art films proliferated in college towns and urban centers.

  • Smaller scale investors provided capital for smaller “specialty” and “art” films that took significant creative risks.

  • Governments had the excess capital to provide direct support for filmmakers as grants, or to provide incentives for investors to fund independent films


Effects of rising economies on production and exhibition2

Effects of Rising Economies on Production and Exhibition

  • With more production of smaller scaled projects, technology developers innovated with more compact equipment suitable for portable production, low prices for rent, fewer crew members needed.

  • But, with so much economic abundance, the hunger for new approaches to create unique film products by all distributors was insatiable (Japanese corporations went so far as to even create the “new wave” of filmmakers)


Historical question 11 2

Historical Question 11.2

  • What political conditions influenced the European New Wave film movements?

  • [Answer globally, but also country by country where appropriate.]


1960s innovation from generational psychological then political difference

1960s: Innovation from Generational, Psychological then Political Difference

  • Historians attempt to explain why the 1960s were a period of tremendous experimentation in the arts. There are three major explanations:


1960s innovation from generational psychological then political difference1

1960s: Innovation from Generational, Psychological then Political Difference

  • Leisure time and youth-directed consumption reinforced a difference in identity between youth and parent generations. (eg. Rock and Roll)

  • The conception of the mind and the self reflected new theories that suggested that identity and consciousness were constantly in flux, affected as much by individual as well collective experiences, both political and interpersonal. (eg. Yippies, Beats and Hippies)

  • The exploits of neo-colonial powers, such as France, the US and England, in fighting foreign wars to maintain empire as a rebuff to Sino-Soviet communism, seemed common rallying point of resistance.

  • Filmmakers with time and access to money, innovated with the form to further construct a cultural identity made for youth consumption, perception and reflection.


France and its new wave

France and its New Wave

  • French government art support gave filmmakers the funds and the economic conditions to create the films that became the New Wave.

  • Developed a national subsidy for young French filmmakers to advance and compete: Prime de qualité – Subsidy for Quality and Avancesurrecettes – Advance on Receipts.

  • Dozens of filmmakers could produce first feature films with a script and budget.


France and its new wave filmmakers

France and its New WaveFilmmakers

  • Renown magazine of film criticism, Cahiers du cinema had employee/editors willing to take up the challenge offered by government

  • Two Cahiers writer/editors: Jean Luc Godard and François Truffaut made the most famous works to establish the French New Wave. Their associates collaborated and also made many films


France and its new wave films filmmakers

France and its New WaveFilms & Filmmakers

  • Breathless (1960), Jean Luc Godard – Film Noir quasi-parody of a criminal’s last days before his demise. The satire on film noir causes audience to never really worry about the life or death of the protagonist, but to enjoy the playfulness of his “narration” and the film style.

  • The 400 Blows (1959), François Truffaut – A story of young runaway boy who learns to be a thief. (Film becomes a model for many identical stories of child runaway thieves in the “third” world. Eg. Pexote, from Brazil, Carlos Diegues. Some argue that this film is also neo-realism.)


France and its new wave films filmmakers1

France and its New WaveFilms & Filmmakers

  • Films made very cheaply with neo-realist production aesthetics,

    • budgets minimal requiring improvisation and resourceful approaches

    • irony and tongue-and-cheek awareness that the audience is watching a film,

    • and that the filmmaker is constructing an experience/narrative.


Historical question 11 3

Historical Question 11.3

  • What are the New Wave cinematic aesthetics ?


New wave editing aesthetics

New Wave Editing Aesthetics

  • In-Line Jump Cuts – cuts where the camera positions remains nearly the same on both sides of the cut point, but an object or person has changed position, and suggests an abrupt and reflexive jump in time

  • Off-line Jump Cuts – cuts where the camera positions changes on both sides of the cut point, and an object or person has changed position, and suggests an ambiguous and less abrupt and reflexive jump in time

  • Disregard for continuity editing and shooting – breaks in eye-line, screen direction, movement, time passing


New wave editing aesthetics1

New Wave Editing Aesthetics

  • Fast and direct cutting of scene action – cut right to the most informative shots of a scene to convey information without showing setup, approach, conflict and resolution

  • Plan-sequence (Long Takes)  – scenes shot in one take, often hand-held, that create the sense that real time of characters and audience are the same


New wave editing aesthetics2

New Wave Editing Aesthetics

  • Collage – mix of image and sounds from disparate sources (eg. Found footage, home movies, news reels, fiction scenes, commercials, etc) to create meanings that are more sensual responses, and usage of tonal, intellectual and associative montage

  • Ambiguous and playful representation of what is “real”– audience stops caring about what is real, enjoys the game played by the filmmaker with the audience


New wave shooting aesthetics

New Wave Shooting Aesthetics

  • Use of Direct Cinema aesthetics, concepts taken from documentaries working parallel with New Wave (to be covered tomorrow on Documentary day) – hand held camera with improvised blocking and camera moves, natural unprocessed synch sound.

  • Use of Neo-Realist aesthetics, concepts taken from previous decade of films. (see previous lectures)

  • Films shot silent, with post-dubbed sound


New wave performance aesthetics

New Wave Performance Aesthetics

  • Referential caricatured Characters – to other movies, comic books, singers, politicians, but in ways that mock or tease the fans of the referenced character

  • Use of non-actor friends – friend of director or crew, provide character sketches and playful reference to a behind-the-camera unseen crew

  • Use and reference of Film Noir – type characters – especially the femme fatale, or the young disaffected bachelor in a profession with no interest in family-making


New wave narrative aesthetics

New Wave Narrative Aesthetics

  • Non-Cause-Effect / Non-Linear Story structure – characters that come and go without overt relation to the film’s main theme, and story threads that are started and abandoned without closure or cause, but maybe referenced in another metaphorical way

  • Ironic-Comic-Dissonant Regard for Life-Death-Future – characters might die, but not really all the way, nor believably, or might take risk where they show no reaction to danger (because they are not afraid because they want to show they know the actors is acting)


New wave narrative aesthetics1

New Wave Narrative Aesthetics

  • Non-Cause-Effect / Non-Linear Story structure – characters that come and go without overt relation to the film’s main theme, and story threads that are started and abandoned without closure or cause, but maybe referenced in another metaphorical way

  • Ironic-Comic-Dissonant Regard for Life-Death-Future – characters might die, but not really all the way, nor believably, or might take risk where they show no reaction to danger (because they are not afraid because they want to show they know the actors is acting)


New wave narrative aesthetics2

New Wave Narrative Aesthetics

  • Opportune reflexive breaks in the 4th wall – In many ways, film might wink to the audience that filmmakers and audience both know that what they see is fake, nothing but a movie.

  • Subjective use of a) flashbacks, b) fantasies, c) memories, d) fantasy and memories, e) hallucinations and f) dreams

  • Stories that question and distrust authority

  • Stories that include or are built around chance events


Historical question 11 4

Historical Question 11.4

  • How did the differences between Truffaut and Godard show distinct uses of New Wave between resistance and compromise?


Final break of new wave

Final Break of New Wave

  • Godard continued to make less accessible and more experimental and formalistic films that challenged and questioned all aspects of the vocabulary of cinema.

  • Truffaut (and Louis Malle, another French New Wave director) adapted New Wave form to innovate within Hollywood, and provided a vital new aesthetic to the commercial aesthetic of film form.


Historical question 11 5

Historical Question 11.5

  • What are the philosophical ideas of the Left Bank filmmakers?


France and its left bank

France and its Left Bank

  • Simultaneous was a more explicitly philosophical and political group of filmmakers whose

  • Work was less outwardly playful, and much more cerebral.

  • More connected to contemporary art movements, and less to popular culture.


Left bank movement ideas

Left Bank Movement Ideas

  • Historical “truth” may not be knowable due to the limits of human perception, and the will to manipulate the facts to service of powerful

  • Distrust the filmmaker and undermine the authority of the film one is watching (even the Left Bank filmmaker)

  • The act of observing anything changes the very nature of the thing observed


Left bank movement ideas1

Left Bank Movement Ideas

  • Time is not truly measurable, despite indications otherwise (the filmChloe from 5 – 7, expresses 2 hours of real time)

  • Space is not measurable in a trustworthy way

  • Words are ambiguous untrustworthy


Left bank movement ideas2

Left Bank Movement Ideas

  • Characters (in film) like real human beings, should not be trusted as real

  • Art (and film included) is a subjective experience for the viewer, with no authority to determine meaning or value


Historical question 11 6

Historical Question 11.6

  • How are the differences between Antonioni and Bertolucci/Leone similar to the differences between Truffaut and Godard?


Italy affiliates with new wave or hollywood westerns horror

Italy Affiliates with New Wave or Hollywood Westerns & Horror

  • Italian cinema went in two distinct directions.

  • One group of filmmakers took a similar path as the French New Wave but maintained much stronger relations with the Neo-Realist legacy, with similar intentions and outcomes as the French counterparts, but also proposing overt left wing politics. Bertolucci

  • Another group was enamored with Hollywood genres of the Western and the Horror film, and simply wanted to entertain and work with Americans. Sergio Leoneand Spaghetti Westerns (early Clint Eastwood) and Dario ArgentoSpaghetti Horror.

  • Later both groups compromise and engage Hollywood aesthetics.


Italian new wave filmmakers and films

Italian New Wave Filmmakers and Films

  • Ecclipse (1962), Michelangelo Antonioni

    • a young wife cheats on her boring husband when she meets a vital young stockbroker,

    • but the love affair is doomed because of the man's materialistic nature.

    • In the affair, she discovers the mysteries of her urban and natural environment,

    • and the contradictions of being a woman at the border of feminist power, and the loss of more conventional forms of femininity.


Post 1968 new wave leads the artistic political avant garde

Post 1968, New Wave Leads the Artistic Political Avant-garde

  • The spring of 1968 was a moment of massive global political reaction to the neo-colonial Vietnam War, that both the US and France had fought.

  • French and US college campuses rioted in protest, which inspired other countries where political freedoms were restricted to also protest:

  • Mexico, Czechoslovakia, Japan, England, Canada, Italy all were countries faced with protest and political movements that threatened governments that supported US global neo-colonial power and control.


Post 1968 new wave leads the artistic political avant garde1

Post 1968, New Wave Leads the Artistic Political Avant-garde

  • The issues that were protested and they appear in the two very influential films below: racial oppression, class difference, taxation to support military industry and war, corrupt police, repression of gay and women’s rights

  • The Conformist (1970), Bernardo Bertolucci – an upper class student of a leftist philosophy teacher becomes involved with fascists. Ultimately he must lead the fascists to assassinate his philosophy teacher, or risk being outed as a homosexual under guise of a conventional marriage and family.

  • The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966), Sergio Leone – an amoral tale of a search for treasure and vengeance

  • Zabriskie Point (1970), Michelangelo Antonioni – a pair of middle class college students find love, communion and political purpose as they traverse the race politics of unstable Los Angeles, and the more private enclave of encounters with nature and sex in the desert.


Historical question 11 7

Historical Question 11.7

  • What aspects of Modernism do Tarkovsky and Bergman embrace in their filmmaking?


New waves of the mind and soul nationally non aligned

New Waves of the Mind and Soul - Nationally Non-Aligned

  • These two filmmakers, whose work is not representative of the political realities of their nation states, but represent a form of "neo-surrealism" (your instructors phrasing not found in the book) that is derived from non-scientific

  • (Jungian) psychological presentations of the mind for Bergman, or from non-religious (animist-spiritist) spiritual presentations of the soul for Tarkovsky,

  • Still considered in the framework of Modernism and the New Wave.

  • Both Bergman and Tarkovskydraw from culturally specific myths and attitudes, but there are not many filmmakers from their countries (Sweden and Russia) that resemble their work, and therefore they are outsiders to the New Wave movements.


New waves of the mind and soul nationally non aligned1

New Waves of the Mind and Soul - Nationally Non-Aligned

  • AnrdreiTarkovsky, a Russian-Soviet sought with his films to provide a deeper understanding of the idea universal soulfulness that extending energy and spirit from the earthly, animal and cosmic sources. His philosophies are mystical and influenced by Russian Christianity (Orthodox Church), and his film present mystical forces that border on collective dreams and psychic perceptions drawn from nature.

  • Ingemar Bergman (no relation to Ingrid) is a Swede who created films that plumbed the mind for its mysterious associations with personal fantasies, fears and memories. These impressions shape character personalities and motivate their actions in ways that are more internal and personal, and less logical to the rules of society.


New waves of the mind and soul nationally non aligned2

New Waves of the Mind and Soul - Nationally Non-Aligned

  • Interesting note: Both directors shared the same director of photography at the end of their career: Sven Nykvist (very well known and important cinematographer)


Bergman and tarkovsky both engage modernism aesthetics

Bergman and Tarkovsky both engage Modernism Aesthetics

  • Representation of ambiguous and often obscured mental processes through the cinematic form (eg. stylized fantasy, memory or dream sequences with ambiguous framing, constructed with editing and not with conventional visual "codes" such as foggy lens and creepy music)

  • Representation of ambiguous subjective point of view - we often don't know whose subjective view we are looking through or listening through until after we have seen or heard a scene. Which character's mind are we experiencing, or which spiritual entity we are observing (is the perception of scene ghostly or human)


Bergman and tarkovsky both engage modernism aesthetics1

Bergman and Tarkovsky both engage Modernism Aesthetics

  • Reflexive presentation of authorial hand (moving camera, highly stylized subjective sounds isolated from the environment) often as demonstration of character mind or soul

  • General requirement that the audience imagine (render) with effort, what is not shown. Looking for an active audience, not a passive one.


Major films of bergman and tarkovsky

Major Films of Bergman and Tarkovsky

  • Persona, (1966) Ingemar Bergman - story of an opera singer who loses her voice and takes rehab time with a nurse in a small private vacation home in the summer. The two alone, the opera singer cannot speak, and she listens to the anxious stories of the nurse, but cannot respond. Eventually their relations grows contemptuous as they discover how they are so similar to the sides of themselves they each detest.

  • Ivan's Childhood (1962) Andrei Tarkovsky - story of an oprhan child who endures the German invasion of Russia during 1941 while his family is murdered by the Nazis. He grows up to age 16, and becomes a reconnaissance soldier in the invasion of Berlin, looking for chances to avenge his family's murder.


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