Avant-garde Film

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Alexander Graf, Dietrich Scheunemann
Rodopi, 2007 - Art - 405 pages
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This volume on avant-garde film has emerged as part of a wider reassessment of 20th century avant-garde art, literature and film carried out in the framework of a research project at the University of Edinburgh. It paves the way for a fresh assessment of avant-garde film and develops its theory as an integral part of a newly defined conception of the avant-garde as a whole, by closing the gap between theoretical approaches towards the avant-garde as defined on the basis of art and literature on the one hand and avant-garde cinema on the other. It gathers contributions by the most esteemed scholars in the field of avant-garde studies relating to the “classical” avant-garde cinema of the 1920s, to new trends emerging in the 1950s and 1960s and to the impact that innovative technologies have recently had on the further development of avant-garde and experimental film. The contributions reflect the broad range of different moving-image media that make up what we refer to today simply as “film”, at the same time as reconsidering the applicability of the label “avant-garde”, to offer a comprehensive and updated framework that will prove invaluable to scholars of both Moving Image Studies and Art History disciplines.
 

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Contents

II
1
III
3
IV
55
V
77
VI
93
VII
105
VIII
121
IX
133
XVI
231
XVII
249
XVIII
261
XIX
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XX
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XXI
299
XXII
305
XXIII
321

X
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XI
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XII
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XIII
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XIV
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XV
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XXIV
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XXV
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XXVI
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XXVII
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XXVIII
393
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Page 5 - The story of these individual artists, at the beginning of the 1920's, under the name of "avantgarde," can be properly read as a history of the conscious attempt to overcome reproduction and to arrive at the free use of the means of cinematographic expression. This movement spread over Europe and was sustained for the greatest part by modern painters who, in their own field, had broken away from the conventional: Eggeling, Le'ger, Duchamp, Man Ray, Picabia, Ruttman, Brugiere, Len Lye, Cocteau, myself,...
Page 4 - It is created in the camera and the cutting room. The documentary film is an original art form. It has come to grips with facts — on its own original level. It covers the rational side of our lives, from the scientific experiment to the poetic landscape-study, but never moves away from the factual. Its scope is wide. Nevertheless, it is an original art form only as far as it keeps strictly to the use of natural raw material in rational interpretation. The modern, more convenient technique of re-enacting...
Page 3 - What is a work of art before it comes in front of the camera, such as acting, staging or the novel is not a work of art on the screen. Even to the sincere lover of the film in its present form it must seem that the film is overwhelmingly used for keeping records of creative achievements: of plays, actors, novels or just plain nature, and proportionately less for the creation of original filmic sensations.
Page 5 - The tradition of modern art grew on a large front, logically, together with and into the film: the orchestration of motion in visual rhythms— the plastic expression of an object in motion under varying light conditions, "to create the rhythm of common objects in space and time, to present them in their plastic beauty, this seemed to me worthwhile" (Le'ger)— the distortion and dissection of a movement, an object or a form and its reconstruction in cinematic terms (just as the cubists dissected...
Page 5 - A blind man in a regular theatre and a deaf mute in a movie theatre should still get the essentials from the performance." The spoken word for the stage, the silent image for the film — those are the elements! These artists discovered that film as a visual medium fitted into the tradition of the art without violation of its fundamentals. It was there that it could develop freely: "The film should positively avoid any connection with the historical? educational, romantic, moral, or immoral, geographic...
Page 31 - This pamphlet elaborated our thesis that the abstract form offers the possibility of a language above and beyond all national language frontiers. The basis for such a language would lie in the identical form perception in all human beings and would offer the promise of a universal art as it had never existed before. With careful analysis of the elements, one should be able to rebuild men's vision into a spiritual language in which the simplest as well as the most complicated, emotions as well as...
Page 4 - ... introduce reproduction through the back door again in reproducing enacted scenes. The influence of the documentary film is growing but its contribution to a filmic art is, by nature, limited. It is limited by the same token by which it has overcome the influence of the two old arts. Since its elements are facts, it can be original art only in the limits of this factuality. Any free use of the magic, poetic, irrational qualities to which the film medium might offer itself would have to be excluded...

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