CIN105Y1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 5: Art Film, Poetic Realism, In Medias Res

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6 Aug 2016
CIN105Y: The Art Film
The Relationship between Art Cinema and Modernism
-Just as classical cinema shares attributes with a broader body of artistic works that are
representative of classicism, art cinema can be understood as an example of modernism.
-Modernism questions art’s capacity to capture truth and abandons the goal of verisimilar
representation. The result is increased self-reflexivity and formal complexity.
Modernism: Describing broad tendencies within art practice that encompasses many
movements/trends in art that prevailed in the first half of the twentieth century
Artistic movements including, cubism, constructionism, expressionism, surrealism,
Captures a profound shift in the 19th century, initiated a self-aware artistic practice and a
corresponding break with two other artistic art movements that are dominant and adhere
to classicism: realism and romanticism.
Realism: tried to find an objective truth about the world, authentic knowledge had to be
grounded in our experience of the world. (Only trust we can actually see/touch/hear)
- According to Gustave Courbet, “Painting is the representation of visible forms. The
essence of realism is the negation of the ideal. Painting is the essentially concrete art and
can only consist of the representation of real and existing things.” (Depiction of an
average person engaged in a mundane activity)
Romanticism: an endeavour to find truth within the self. One’s imagination/interiority could be
transcended and a truth could be discovered
- Valued things the realists didn’t: The nature world, the mystical, the emotional, the
irrational, the subjective
- Have a common ground: associate art with truth
- Charles Baudelaire “to say the word Romanticism is to invoke intimacy, spirituality,
colour, aspiration towards the infinite, expressed by every means available to the arts.”
A trait of modernism is a degree of Self-reflexivity: when an artwork is self-reflexive, it
acknowledges its own construction (a work of art rather than a slice of reality)
Fragmentation of form, abstraction of figures
For the reader it poses a challenge because it sees its world in a certain way
- Fundamental shift from the pursuit of some singular truth to the expectance of a world
that is less concern with truth and meaning and more tolerant of relativism and
fragmentation- mass industrialization, urbanization – change people experience of space
and time, bring people into contact with technology
- Increase to secularization and loss of framework provided by religion to make sense of
the world
- Physics, psychoanalysis, mass communications, both world wars
Examples of Cinematic Modernism in the Silent Era
German Expressionism: film movement, ties to expressionism as it was developed in other
mediums (paintings)
Soviet Cinema: of the silent era, ties with constructivism, supremitism, hugo-futurism
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