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Film Theory

by: Abi Sommers

Film Theory CTCS 473

Abi Sommers

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About this Document

Here are the notes from September 16th, continuing on formalism and discussing expressionism. The screenings were two short film the The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari
Film Theories
Jon Wagner
Class Notes
Film, Theory, Formalism, expressionism
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Abi Sommers on Friday September 23, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to CTCS 473 at University of Southern California taught by Jon Wagner in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 9 views.


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Date Created: 09/23/16
Week 5  9/16 Formalism Cont’d. ­ Faces modernism head on and as  duty instead of taking away from it as  Realism ­ Exploits potential of unstable reality ­ Cinema as a medium that corrects, purifies or even accuses reality Reading Review :  Rudolph Arnheim  ­ Specific qualities of cinema that make it art are not those which directly mirror life ­ Simply reflecting the world would be a faded image of life. Aka nothing special ­ Film should accentuate distortion and perceptions Balazs :         ­    The close ­ up exists to discover beneath the depiction of reality            ­    Emphasizes poetic sensibility in film                    ­   True cinema exists outside of space and time  ●  Great theories of avant garde steer away from praise of cinema as mere representation  of life ­ Cinema becomes surprisingly power medium of investigation ● French Avante Garde moves toward, abstraction, purification  Avante Garde “isms”  (forms of formalism) :  ­ Cubism has origins before WWI (1914­1919)   ­ Effort for structural abstraction, the representation of objects ­ Influenced by exhibitions of African sculpture ­ Move into realm of mathematical purity      ­     Futurism , life required art and life to increase speed, machinery, war       ­    A commitment to courage and audacity as quality of the artist       ­    Examples of futurism produced by sculpture and painting ­ shows (what cinema does) image moving through different incarnations                   ­   Cinema shows futurism best ,  cinema as a machinery of speed and tech       ­     Dadaism , the quest for something to mean something , there is no meaning        ­   Randomness, negation, a protest against destruction of WWI        ­   Sustained, deliberate madness as our place in the world                    ­    Surrealism  , above the real, influenced by Freud and the unconscious           ­   The truth of existence relies somewhere beyond reality            ­    Distortions of discipline and reason           ­   There is a pure, abstract, instinctual reality           ­  Liberating the conscience through altered states of being  Return to Reason: ­ Emphasizes search for meaning ­ Dadaism, Surrealism ­ Fleeting images Ballet Mecanique :       ­  a test against reality                              ● German expressionism adopts mis en scene, cinema of mis en scene ­ Extraordinarily distorted elements of mis en scene ­ Reality invaded and set up for manipulation ­ Spiritually dark accusation of the psychology of reality; a nightmare ­ Perceptual distortion ­ UFA ( German film productions), at first dedicated to historical spectacles, tended to present history as in the grip of an individual  The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari ­ Most exaggerated idea of German expressionism ­ Young man who under Dr. Caligari spell is able to tell future, Caligari uses to commit  murders and runs insane asylum, has to be locked up in own asylum  ­ Chiaroscuro lighting ­ Expressive design of disturbed emotional states, realism gone mad ● Expressionism attempts to express interior realities ● German expressionism an enormous success in early 20’s , competing with Hollywood ­ After Hitler, mass exodus of talent to Hollywood  ­ Spiritual exhaustion in Germany by the end of the decade ­ Films show this cynicism 


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