Research Project

So I am deciding between three topics which I find interesting.

1. First I was thinking about doing the Autuer theory and Ingmar Bergman. I would go against the auteur theories and argue that he is indeed and auteur.

2. Second topic would be the Third Cinema theories, since there was so much debate in class about it, I would like to go deeper in defining what makes a revolutionary film and if they are beneficial. I would be using battle of  The Battle of Algiers as my film reference.

3. Third I’m thinking about doing the theories on race, and representation. Using Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song and discussing the blaxploitation movement in film.

….. soo I think I am leaning towards blaxploitation

Published in: on March 24, 2010 at 10:18 am Comments (1)

Third Cinema

Che Guevara, La Hora De Los Hornos

In Solanas and Getino’s reading towards a third cinema he discusses how third cinema, also known as Latin American cinema came about. Majority of the article talks about neo-colonialism, and the power of the bourgeois. These oppressed third world countries that are in need of a revolution and he sees that films can be used as a revolutionary tool. The advancement of science, and technical improvements made this possible. The cinema of the revolution is at the same time one of deconstruction and construction: deconstruction of the image of neocolonialism and a construction of a living reality which recaptures the truths.

First Cinema: Is cinema of entertainment or Hollywood Cinema. Solanas describes it as a mechanistic takeover of a cinema, structured, and to be sure to satisfy the commercial interests of the production groups.

Second Cinema: Auteur Cinema, Expression Cinema. The demand of a filmmaker to be free to express himself in a non-standard language and inasmuch as it was an attempt to at cultural decolonization.

Third Cinema: Has 2 requirements “making films that the system cannot assimilate and which are foreign to its needs, or making films that directly and explicitly sat out to fight the system… in a cinema of liberation.”

Solanas and Getino are two Argentinean activist and they directed, wrote and produced an independent documentary call La hora de los hornos. I actually have seen a portion of this and it is very aggressive and in your face. The montage cuts are very tough on the eyes and the images are very explicit. It truly causes you to be an active viewer, and that is one of the goals for this type of film, to get people to stand up and react to it.

Espinosa in his article For an Imperfect Cinema, he is questioning what art is, and what is cinema. The people who mediate it are limiting the artist’s creative freedom. She agrees with Solanas point about the “elite” and that we need to revolutionize. “The revolution is what furnishes all other alternatives, what can supply an entirely new response, what enables us to do away once and for all the elitist concepts and practices in art.”

Perfect cinema is technically and artist fully masterful and is almost always, in some way reactionary cinema, and is structured. An imperfect cinema finds a new audience; those who are struggles and its themes revolve around this. It must show the process which generates these problems, “to submit it to judgment without pronouncing the verdict.” The audience for imperfect cinema believes they can transform the world in a revolutionary way.

Rocha in An esthetic of Hunger, The article compares Brazil and Europe with the case of Cinema Novo. Europeans hunger is for a strange tropical surrealism and Brazils hunger is its national shame. (I do not know what he is talking about her)

Then he moves on to talk about Cinema Novo, stating that it remains marginal to the economic and cultural process of Latin America. Rocha claims that it cannot develop effectively with these limitations. Instead Cinema Novo is a phenomenon of new people everywhere and it depends on the freedom of Latin America. “Cinema Novo is not one film but an evolving complex of films that will ultimately make the public aware of its own misery.”

Published in: on March 17, 2010 at 1:25 pm Comments (0)

What is Auteur Theory? And how much should we rely on these theories?

Andrew Sarris in Notes on the Auteur Theory in 1962 he points out the important premise of the theories are “the technical competence of a director as a criterion value” and “the distinguishable personality of the director as a criterion of value”. Basically the first premise states that is a director makes bad movies doesn’t necessarily make him a bad director as long as he has technical competence, because that is what will be criticized. Another criterion value is if we are able to link together the director’s work, because his hand in the film is obvious. I understand his arguments on Auteur theory but I don’t necessarily agree. There are a lot of weaknesses.

Pauline Kael in her article e Circles and Squares rips apart Sarris article and basically discredits it by attacking all of his premises on Auteur Theory. Kael excerpts a paragraph from Sarris articles discussing two films by Raoul Walsh which he was able to see a “crucial link” between Every Night at Eight and High Sierra with thanks to Auteur Theory. Kael describes this “crucial link” as an uninteresting and obvious device, which was used in a worse earlier movie. The debate here is simply just because a director has a certain style or repeats certain devices throughout his film, is that enough to make and an Auteur? Shouldn’t it be the content of his work being judged?

Kael seems to think so; she states “that artists borrow from themselves all the time and how the same devices, techniques and themes reappear within their work…. (but) repetition without development is decline”.  If these repeated devices are not developing in the director’s work, that needs to be recognized as a decline, critics should not congratulate this.

Andre Bazin in his article ‘On the politique des auteurs’ agrees with Kael on this point. He believes in Auteur Theories but this is the one place where he disagrees. This idea of the film-maker and his films being one, therefore even the worst of them will always be in the image of its creator. Bazin states that he disagrees, but does not proceed to bash it the Kael does.

Another important point of Auteur Theory according to Sarris was “the technical competence of a director as a criterion value.” Kael believes “An artist who is not a good technician can indeed create new standards, because standards of technical competence are based on comparisons with work already done” She brings up a director names Coceau and says that his greatness is being able to achieve his own personal expression and style. Coceau states” the only technique worth having is the technique you invent for yourself”. I agree with Kael that directors should be judged on the basis of what he produces. You can’t justify a bad film as good just because a director has technical competence and a distinguishable personality. “It is an insult to an artist to praise his bad work along with his good; it indicates that you are incapable of judging either.” I loved her analogy about buying clothes with the label, just because its Dior means it’s good.

Sarris’ rebuttal in the Film Quarter, The Auteur Theory And The Perils Of Pauline, wasn’t a strong argument. He was not able to bounce back and defend her attacks. He felt the need to justify his arguments by throwing numerous amounts of references to directors and films. He also goes on about the “pyramid fallacy” and “the patent system”. He also goes on to say that silent directors invented forms while sound directors perfected styles, I can see some truth to this, but his following statement about directors oriented to realism being the “Drones of Cinema” I do not agree with.  He goes on to talk to about neo-realism and again more references to directors and films. He clearly did not win the rebuttal and I found it difficult to follow his arguments.

Over all, when it comes to Auteur Theories I think it’s important to understand these theories but you should definitely not follow them blindsided. Take in all elements and judge the film for its content and execution, not on the director’s reputation.

Published in: on March 10, 2010 at 11:16 am Comments (9)

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