film 2700 history of the motion picture professor sheldon schiffer n.
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  1. 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:

  2. [Lecture 10] Modernism Expands: Post-War Neo-Realism in the Second and Third World Expressions of Modernisms expand beyond Europe into the developing world as the aesthetic of Neo-Realism expresses the conditions and politics of neo-colonized nation states.

  3. Historical Question 10.1 • How did the post-War developing world nations resist colonization of their film industries by Hollywood adapting the aesthetics of European Neo-Realism? • How did the post-War developing nations adapt and integrate Hollywood aesthetics?

  4. Post-War Japan • Greatly controlled by victorious Allied forces under Supreme Command of Allied Powers (SCAP), that re-designed Japanese society to resemble US in all ways ideological and economic. • Idealized entrepreneurship and low-scale military support of democracy. • Justified presence of US as a recovery force. • Opposed unions and leftists. • Banned many traditional nationalist films • Encouraged foreign and domestic investment • Fuji revived and created color process

  5. Japanese Neo-Realist Films & Filmmakers • Roshomon (1950) Akira Kurosawa – story of rape and killing told at trial from multiple characters, each tell differently, and each reveal somewhat contradictory information • Sansho the Bailiff (1954) Kenji Mizoguchi - Medieval story about a political family. Governor is sent into exile, away from the family. Family must try to unite. Nostalgic look back at feudal Japan. Early return to once illegal film content (SCAP controlled). • Tokyo Story (1953) YosujiroOzu – Story of older family coming back to live with parents, shows conflict of generations • Naked Island (1960), KanetoShindo – Story of family surviving on remote island, then discovering the developing world.

  6. Soviet Social (Neo-)Realism Conditions • The Soviet Union immediately after WWII became ever more repressive of artists and free thinkers as it perceived NATO-US an ideological threat. But, as economies needed creative re-generation and new authorities came to power, a cycle from “freeze” to “thaw” would rejuvenate (“thaw”) or constrict (“freeze”) filmmaking activity.

  7. Soviet Socialist (Neo-)Realism Conditions • 1946, Alexander Zhdanov became head of Ministry of Culture, and re-imposed the aesthetic of Soviet Realism, an alternate reinterpretation of Neo-Realism. • Soviet Socialist Realism presents characters in misery and sacrifice in the present and past, • Characters frequently abandon and sacrifice personal super-objective (marriage, love, money, reputation) in exchange for goals valued by the state (loyalty and development of institutions and military victory: eg. factory production, technology building, solving public health and education problems, increasing agricultural production).

  8. Soviet Socialist (Neo-)Realism Conditions • Filmmakers resisting or creating subversive work were harassed or disemployed, or their scripts and films were “corrected” with state controlled changes. • Result of output: less than 50 films produced in years after WWII • Famed directors of pre-WWII died, had films banned, went into teaching. • Atmosphere of fear, stultified creativity.

  9. Soviet Historical Events Effect Film and Artistic Policy • 1953 Stalin dies, and • NakitaKrustchev comes to power and begins party reforms. • Krustchev denounces Stalin’s restriction and filmmakers begin to engage more Neo-Realist aesthetics.

  10. Soviet Socialist (Neo-)Realism Aesthetics • Examples of Soviet approaches to Neo-Realism. What aesthetic features: • ambiguous loyalties between state and individual, • impoverished gritty locations, art direction and photography, • non-idealized characters or character objectives, • awareness of character and audience mental processes (once considered “bourgeois” subversion) • questions the role of the state in persuading the mind

  11. Soviet Socialist (Neo-)Realism Film & Filmmakers • The Forty First (1956), GrigoriChukrhai – story of woman soldier who must deliver male prisoner, but they develop a romance • Ballad of a Solder (1958), GrigoriChukrhai – starts with protagonist dying, but then journeys back evolves the weeks that lead up to his death, including all the family who lost him that he left behind • The Cranes are Flying (1956), Mikhail Kalatozov – story of romantic betrayal at home during the war, soldier’s wife has an affair with protagonists brother, an illegal seller of western goods. Deals with post-war soldier mental disorder

  12. Soviet Satellite (Neo-)Realism Poland (as example) • Exemplary satellite of USSR. Similarly experienced the thaw-freeze cycles, and developed an indigenous film industry and schools. • Likewise, embraced Neo-Realist and modernist aesthetic issues, but more often focused on questioning covertly Soviet domination. Which ones:

  13. Soviet Satellite (Neo-)Realism Poland (as example) • Awareness of mental processes • Gritty and un-ideal location, art direction • Non-idealized ending • Covert suggestion against power structure • Kanal (1957) AndrzejWajda – Story of the Polish partisans who fought against the Nazis in the sewers. The anti-Nazi attitude covertly suggested the Soviets were the enemy. • Other nations: Yugoslavia, Czechoslavakia

  14. Third (aligned developing) World Brazil (as example) • Aligned with US during WWII, covertly kept relations with Nazis as well. Swung between dictatorship and presidency with Gitulio Vargas. • Under dictator Vargas, major production companies embrace early 20th century industrial capitalism • a highly vertically integrated media industry model. • Marino family (Roberto Marino and sons) created Globo with help from government.

  15. Third (aligned developing) World Brazil (as example) • Film studios independent from newspapers, both imitated Hollywood genres with Brazilian variants of characters. • Vera Cruz, São Paulo • Atlântida, Rio de Janeiro • Two principal Hollywood genres copied: Tropicalia Musical, and Chanchada Comedy • Neo-Realist independents

  16. Third (aligned developing) World Brazil (as example) Films and Filmmakers / Actors • SaidaFrente – Get Out of My Way (1952), AmácioMazzaropi (actor) –story of a truck driver who moves people from house to house. One day discovers a bride stowed away, trying to escape her marriage. Example of Hollywood variation at local interpretation • VidasSecas – Barren Lives (1963), Nelson Pereira do Santos – story of family in the Northeast of Brazil, trying to find work in a barren landscape. Example of Brazilian Neo-Realism

  17. Third (non-aligned developing) World India (as example) • Similar to Brazil in all respects, except not aligned, and massively multi-lingual. • Hollywood (pre-Bollywood) variant: Chandralekha, (1948), S.S. Vasan - singing, dancing and music is more important than complicated narrative. Story of a prince who falls in love with a dancer, but Prince's brother also wants to marry the dancer. Ultimately, brothers battle with their mercenaries to gain the right to marry her

  18. Third (non-aligned developing) World India (as example) Films and Filmmakers / Actors • Neo-Realist Indian variant: PatherPanchali - Song of the Little Road (1955) Satyajit Ray - story of the family of a Hindu priest. The child of the family ultimately opts to help his family by stealing. But this creates moral repercussions for all. • The Middleman (1976 - yes that late, still neo-realist) Satyajit Ray - story of a young college graduate who enters the business class, in contrast with his more traditional family, and the social realities it faces with Indian industrialization