Week 8 The Post-War Avant-garde The Post-War Avant-garde and Independent Cinema. Readings: Thompson & Bordwell Chapter 21 Documentary and Experimental Cinema in the Postwar Era 1945-Mid 1960’s pp 478-507 and pp536-555 (3rd Edition). Maya Deren p 490 & 4523 (3rd Edition) Hayward, Key Concepts Feminist film theory pp97-116; Supplementary Reading: Laura Mulvey “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema”, (Braudy and Cohen pp 833-844). Topics • Counter culture, Avant-Garde, Experimentalism, Structural cinema. • May 68 & The Society of the Spectacle (Guy Debord) • Semiotic Theory (Saussure, Barthes, Pierce) • The Mirror Stage: Psychoanalysis and cinema. (Christian Metz; Jacques Lacan). • Filmmakers: Maya Deren, Kenneth Anger Warhol, Ackerman, Mekas, Snow, Varga, Schneeman, Counter culture Independent film makers c.w. more commercial interests of Hollywood producers. Documentary film making Avant-garde personal expression aided by the introduction of cheaper portable 8mm 16mm cameras and projection equipment Screenings: Meshes of the Afternoon (1943-59) Maya Deren/ Alex Hammid; Fireworks (1947) Kenneth Anger; Last Year at Marienbad (1961), Alain Renais; Maya Deren 1917-1961 NYC Avant-Garde 1947-68 • Jonas Mekas: Important figure impresario of the NYC Avant-garde (or neo-avant-garde) (Film makers Cooperative founder and cofounder of anthology film archives) Film Culture magazine and writing for the Village Voice. • Bruce Connor A Movie (1958) • Jack Smith Flaming Creatures (1963) Kenneth Anger (1927Fireworks (1947); Scorpio Rising (1964) Important independent films • Cleo from 5-7 (1961) Agnes Varda Scorpio Rising (1964) Kenneth Anger • Chelsea Girls (1966) Andy Warhol Weekend (1967) Jean-Luc Godard • Wavelength (1967) Michael Snow • Performance (1970) Nicholas Roeg • Privilege (1990) Yvonne Rainer May 1968 Guy Debord (1931-1994) and Situationism 1957-1968 Society of the Spectacle Theses 1&4 “The entire life of societies in which modern conditions of production reign appears as an immense accumulation of spectacles. Everything that was expressed directly has been distanced in a representation.” (Thesis 1) The term had been first used in print in L’Internationale situationniste 3 in 1959, in an article probably penned by Guy Debord, which gave rare approval to Alain Resnais’ film Hiroshima mon amour. “Spectacle in general, as the concrete immersion of life is the autonomous movement of the nonliving. Spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation between people mediated through images.” (Thesis 4) “Among other possibilities the cinema lends itself particularly well to studying the present as an historical problem, to dismantling the processes of reification.”( René Vienet, 1959) Debord and Godard were interested in a “politicized Brechtian Cinema” A Marxist cinema? The Dziga Vertov Group Importance of Cahiers du Cinema. Semiology (Discourse on signs) Ferdinand Saussure Roland Barthes The Death of the Author Semiology / semiotics theoretical framework for the study of the meaning of language, signs and symbols Ferdinand Saussure Charles Sanders Pierce Semantics -- language and meaning Pragmatics -- who says what to whom & context Syntactics – formal rules for use of language. Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913) Signs (dyadic) According to Ferdinand Saussure the Sign consists of: (1) signifier -- the material form of the sign for example the word red - and (2) the signified -- the concept it represents i.e. the colour red Sound/sense Dark Clouds signify? In nature? In Culture? Connotative & denotative Denotation – denotative (indexical) plane of meaning r.e.d. = colour red Connotation – connotative (iconic and symbolic) plane of meaning Red = rose, love, passion, lust, hot, anger, blood, communism… endless signification…… hence “the arbitrary nature of the sign” sound/sense 3 Categories (Saussure cw C.S. Pierce) Triadic 1. Iconic - a sign which resembles the signified (portrait, photo, diagram, map) 2. Symbolic - a sign which does not resemble the signified but which is purely conventional (the word stop, a red traffic light, or a national flag) 3. Indexical - a sign which is inherently connected in some way (existentially or causally) to the signified (e.g. smoke signifies fire; and all the little symbols and emoticons on web pages -- mailboxes, speakers, envelopes, arrows etc ^#@% ). Charles Sanders Pierce (1839 – 1914) Roland Barthes: The Death of the Author “the death of the author ensures the birth of the reader” Christian Metz (1931 – 1993) The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and the Cinema The Lacanian Mirror Stage The Imaginary, the Symbolic and the Real The dyad and split subjectivity. The one who is not one …yet seeking the other un petit autre le petit object a in Lacanian terms. Subjectivity, identity formation and….. misrecognition. I am….. another to myself? . Desire/pleasure I seek an other to myself. Jouissance! I am necessarily incomplete until I bond with another…. and yet this bonding occurs in the realm of the imaginary or the symbolic! Implications for cinema 1. Spectatorship Desire/Fetishism….. 2. Narrative construction - The Oedipal Trajectory in classical narrative cinema. 3. Character formation and identification. You become what you desire…… Jean-Luc Godard (1930-) Weekend (1967) released in 1968 Begins: “ a film found on a scrap heap” Ends with “the end of cinema” Francis Ford Coppola (1939-) The Conversation (1974) Robert Altman 1925 –2006 Nashville (1975) Chantal Ackerman (1950 --) Je Tu Il Elle; V2_: Je Tu Il Elle Claude Jutra (1930 – 1986) Mon Oncle Antoine (1971) Alain Renais (1922-)Last Year in Marienbad (1961). Alain Robbe-Grillet Le nouveau roman Stan Brahkage (1933-2003) “ Brahkage is one of the four or five most authentic film artists working in cinema anywhere, and perhaps the most original film maker in America today” (Mekas, J 1961 Village Voice column) Dog Star Man (1961-64) Mothlight (1963) “OF NECESSITY I BECOME INSTRUMENT FOR THE PASSAGE OF INNER VISION, THRU ALL MY SENSIBILITIES, INTO ITS EXTERNAL FORM.” “My most active part in this process is to increase all my sensibilities (so that all films arise out of some total area of being or full life) AND, at the given moment of possible creation to act only out of necessity. In other words, I am principally concerned with revelation.” -letter to P Adams Sitney, (1963) “Endgames Agnes Varda (1928-) Cleo from 5-7 (1961) Andy Warhol (1928- 1987) Sleep (1963) 6h Empire (1964) 8h The Factory productions with Paul Morrissey Chelsea Girls (1966) Lonesome Cowboys (1968) • Chelsea Girls (1966) “I love to be bored” “In the future everyone will be world famous for 15 minutes” Michael Snow (1929Wavelength (1967) 45 minute slow zoom to a photograph of waves attached to the wall of his loft apartment/studio in NYC Structuralist film (P. Adams Sitney “The film insists on its shape and what content it has is minimal and subsidiary to its outline” Other early Structuralist Films: Hollis Frampton (Zorns Lemma 1970) Ernie Gehr (Serene Velocity 1970) George Landow Remedial Reading Comprehension (1970) Hollis Frampton (1936-1984) Zorns lemma (1970) Zorns Lemma Performance Nicholas Roeg (1928-) (1970) Women’s Political films Geri Ashur Janies Janie (1971) Jim Klein and Jukia Reichart Union Maids (1976) Connie Field The life and times of Rosie the Riveter (1976) The Personal is political” (Confessional films) Carolee Schneeman Fuses (1964) Joyce Wieland Reason over Passion (1969) Michelle Citron Daughter Rite (1978) Sue Freidrich The Ties that Bind (1984) Trin te Min ha Surname Viet, Given Name Nam (1989) Carolee Schneeman (1939-) Fuses (1964) Yvonne Rainer (1934-) Lives of Performers (1971) Film about a woman who… (1974) The man who envied women (1985) Privilege (1990) Ref. NSCAD Press Book 1974 Week 9 Contemporary Cinema Since the 1960’s; Crime, Horror and Suspense. The Hollywood ‘B’ movie. Readings: Thompson & Bordwell Chapter 22 Hollywood’s Fall and Rise pp 505-533; Hayward, Key Concepts Horror pp174-178. Screening: Bucket of Blood (1960) Roger Corman, Night of the Living Dead (1968) George Romero; Breathless (1960) Jean Luc Godard.