In the late 1920s, Warner Bros and Fox realized they could gain a competitive advantage over competitors by pre-recording music and eliminating cost of hiring live musicians. Only synch music at first, not synch dialogue
First film with synch dialogue, not just synch music
Because of the economic hardships, attendance falls. Several companies go bankrupt. Theaters compensate by opening concession stands and showing double features to try and attract audiences.
New kind of rom-com: eccentric or "screwy" couple behaving childishly. Noticeably different from the sophisticated romantic comedies-- old-fashioned conception of marriage as a duty-> couples having fun together. Fast-paced, witty dialogue (enabled by synch sound), equality in relationship, "comedy of remarriage." No children because they are children themselves.
MPPDA must approve all US films-- strict production code. Films couldn't show crime or sin sympathetically, explicitly show or defend drugs, alcohol, sex or adultery, or acknowledge homosexuality or mixed-race relationships in any way.
Jerry and Lucy: wealthy, behave childishly, have a dog but no children, break up and then reunite. Dan is Lucy's "false partner," an exaggerated representation of conventional behavior. Implicit, not explicit, representation of sex due to production code.
Lighter, portable cameras, "voice of god" narration-- goal was overcoming feeling of remoteness from war
Kenneth Anger directed; camp humor, self awareness. Part of the psychodrama genre: drama of psychological revelation, often erotic and motivated as a dream. Build up to a climactic, revelatory encounter (fireworks going off). Unlike surrealism, psychodramas are very personal, about the filmmaker's own psychology.
Unconscious expression uninhibited by the limitations of reality.
due to advent of television.
Supreme Court declares studios are guilty of monopolism-- Majors forced to divest of theater chains. Theaters are now free to show indie/foreign films. Theaters also don't need approval from the MPAA any more-- production code erodes
Directed by Robert Drew. Inaugurated the Direct Cinema genre-- no voice of God, subjectivity of cold documentaries (Battle of Midway, Nanook). Enabled by new tech: lightweight cameras, zoom lenses, synch sound.
No more production code-- liberalization of cultural values increasingly reflected in films. More sex and violence.
Period of personal auteurism, using European conventions of art cinema. Not rebelling against hollywood, but updating it.
Conventions: Alienated protagonist/antihero, dead time, open endings, ambiguity and subjective reality (drawn from Italian Neorealism-- wandering through an inhospitable environment).
More serious themes: alienation, distrust of the government, anti-consumerism. More "realistic"-- more sex and violence.
Filmmakers: Coppola, Malick, Allen, Scorsese
Theater attendance is very low-- companies produce low budget films aimed at a college-age audience with high returns: The Graduate, Midnight Cowboy, Bonnie and Clyde-- quick money to keep from collapsing.
Direct cinema footage combined with interviews, voice-over, archival footage, music. Example-- Michael Moore, Errol Morris
Radical skepticism about ability of documentary to be "non-fiction"
Hollis Frampton. Structural film: emphasis on structure of the film itself. In (nostalgia), the description of a photograph precedes the photograph. Effect is that viewer must consider the past, present, and future all at once. Also metaphor for Frampton's transition from photographer to filmmaker
First real blockbuster
New Hollywood films begin taking in massive profits: The Godfather, Jaws, Star Wars. Studios can make a couple big-budget blockbusters a year and be set for profits for that year.
Used expensive stars and special effects (Star Wars excluded), relied on pre-sold material like comic books, and used heavy advertising.
Experimentation discouraged to minimize risk of losing money-- regurgitation of already-popular material. End of New Hollywood
Vigilante film-- Hollywood Art Film-- borrows conventions from art cinema:
Alienated protagonist (Edmund from GY0), inhabiting an alienating environment, dead time
Expressionism: lurid, distorted color to reflect Travis' distorted mental state
Like Edmund, Travis becomes "corrupted" by his environment and takes on its values.
Errol Morris; the truth is difficult, but not impossible to know. Offering differing, maybe conflicting, interpretations of reality.
Led to overturning of Adams' conviction
Editing: Rebuttal pattern-- accusation against Adams, then Adams or somebody else rebuts it
Interrotron device to maintain eye contact with interviewer/interviewee-- gets people to admit things they'd never normally admit.
Reenactments are made to look artificial: emphasizes unreliability of prosecution and witness testimonies.
The viewer is placed in the position jury/detective, and must discern the answer from a pile of details.
Declines as a result of greater costs of sound film and the political turmoil: new totalitarian regimes and extremist governments repressed experimentation in the film industry. many experimental filmmakers turned to other more accessible trends in order to make social critiques-- documentary, eg
Surrealism: unexplained shifts in time and space and character goals, recurring objects that are never explained
Breton: "Conscious psychic automatism"
Banned in France upon first release, because it represented adult authority as repressive and hypocritical and also hints at child [homo]sexuality.
Surrealist influence: celebrates the uninhibited and liberated creativity of children; dream/fantasy mixed with reality (pillow fight scene)
Riefenstahl argued that it wasn't propaganda as it didn't contain any voiceover or reconstruction-- it was merely a documentation of a historical event. However, many techniques in the film create excitement or reinforce Nazi ideology-- close-ups on important details such as the swastika or long shot of crowd-- mass and unity Nazism
Left-wing themes: vilifying the capitalistic businessman antagonist-- profits off the money and hard work of others; exploits workers. Valorizes organization of the working people (cooperative of the publishing company; inn workers protecting Lange. Use of deep focus and staging, long takes, and framing independent of character movement --> unifies individuals into groups
French Communist, Socialist, and left-wing parties joined together as a result of the economic and political instability of the time. Introduced reforms such as the 40-hour workweek.
Non professional actors were more authentic-- actor from culture being depicted
Italian studios had been destroyed, so location shooting used instead-> many onlookers, which increased authenticity. Argued as being almost documentary-like.
Meant to encapsulate the drama of everyday life. Lots of dead time, but events in the story separated by ellipses-- not always explained what happens.
Many narratives about regular people trying to survive in the aftermath of war. Classical goal-oriented protagonist, but now the goal is simply to survive.
corruption of children; showed that Germans also suffered after WWI but also criticizes persistent Nazism.
Importance of the ruined city landscape-- lots of time spent showing the cityscape-- deep focus and staging. Edmund is the archetype of the alienated protagonist, wandering aimlessly through an inhospitable environment.
Required that countries open their markets to US goods- especially films, in order to help restore Hollywood dominance. In response, most Western European countries adopted protectionist measures: quotas, taxes, govt grants to stimulate domestic industry-- cultural exception. The international co-production returns. The result is that most countries end up with stable film companies.
Also in Europe and Japan.
Decline in audience because of television, so more experimentation to bring people back. Young people were the largest group of moviegoers. Also there was an awareness of the history of film-- film schools, film magazines. More homage and influence from older filmmakers. Inaugurated by Truffaut and the 400 Blows
Directed by Truffaut. Payed homage to Vigo (Zero for Conduct), Italian Neorealism (Rossellini, Germany Year Zero), Hitchcock.
Theme of repression and imprisonment of children in the cruel adult world-- appealing to the youth audience.
Borrows many conventions from Italian Neorealism: open ending, episodic narration, dead time. Noticeable influence from Germany, Year Zero (Antoine's run-- Edmund's walk) and Zero for Conduct. Truffaut focused on the details of everyday life, using a spontaneous mixture of light-hearted and serious.
film industry expands some due to decreased censorship-- period of "market socialism;" Czech New Wave film movement.
Jean-Luc Godard; influenced by Brecht
Alienation effect: remove empathy so that the audience can think critically about the film. Characters express awareness of being watched.
Similar to the Exterminating Angel: Bourgeoisie are ruthless and greedy, but lower classes aren't better.
Czech Communist party taken over by reformers-- some banned films are released, filmmakers free to make more politically critical films
Uprisings in France; students rebel against authoritarian state-- institutions of the state such as schools are instruments of pacification. Police brutally suppress students and workers strike in support. Ends in June when Charles de Gaulle returns to power.
Invasion-- reforms reversed and films critical of the USSR are banned. End of Czech New Wave; many filmmakers emigrate.
Due to Hollywood's return to power. Films funded by TV production companies, but this makes them less experimental and more accessible. Also more women filmmakers.
Agnes Varda. Employs art cinema conventions:
Realism: nonprofessional actors, location shooting, dead time (Italian Neorealism)
But also anti-realism: Direct address (Brechtian reflexivity), associated with Godard and Weekend.
"Feminist Citizen Kane--" begins with the protagonist's death, we then find out more about them through other people's testimonies. But there are also many shots of Mona walking alone-- independent access to her
Mona is an object of fantasy to both men and women. The film is as much about how Mona is perceived as it is about Mona herself.
Rivals Hollywood, dominating the domestic market, until 1937-- war with China. Govt makes films more patriotic and nationalistic; experimentation and social critique is discouraged.
Ozu: films about contemporary life. Focused on the ordinary, mundane parts of life, finding humor and significance in everyday situations. Frequently used repetition with reversals or changes as a technique (parallelism)
I Was Born But: theme of parallel power dynamics in the adult and child worlds. In the child world power depends on size-- in the adult world, depends on wealth/status.
Repetition theme: 2 trips to school, breakfasts, and visits to the boss's house.
When the sons express anger at their father for submitting too much to his boss, he responds by beating them-- uses strength the way children do. In the end, the sons learn sometimes you have to compromise power out of necessity-- father's submission to his boss paralleled with sons' relenting hunger strike out of need to eat.
Dominated Latin American cinema (after Hollywood). Popular genres included the melodrama, musical, and cowboy film.
Mizoguchi: like Ozu, films about contemporary life, but also historical and sword fight films. Made many melodramas about "fallen women-" critiqued exploitation of women.
Sisters of the Gion: One sister has a more traditional and sentimental conception of what a geisha's role should be-- duty of looking after men. The other sister sees men as exploiters-- unsentimental, tries to advance herself through manipulating men. Neither sister is able to improve her condition by the film's end.
Mizoguchi's style: intentionally partially obscuring the action-- esp emotional scenes. Lots of long takes used. The purpose of this is to dedramatize the situation, allowing the viewer to rationally and critically reflect better.
Bunuel-- Surrealist element. The primitive and irrational sublimated in civilized behavior and religion. The idea that we are civilized is an illusion. Motif of dinner party-- base need of eating disguised as civilized behavior. This primitivism is universal-- not just confined to the Bourgeois, though Bunuel generally attacked that class in his movies.
Dinner guests are unable to leave bc they are trapped in their own irrationality. The sheep symbolize humans' herd-like behavior, acting without thinking-- lambs go to the slaughter into the house and church
Simon is "free" even though he can't move around because he has the power to renounce worldly pleasures and resist temptations. He is surrounded by insincere priests who use him for their own ends. In the end, Simon is transported to the modern day where he learns that his holiness is irrelevant, much as we might wish we had it
Hong Kong dominates its domestic market-- Hollywood films do not. Many are also distributed abroad. Bruce Lee and the kung fu film are huge internationally in the 1970s.
By the 1980s, action/swordfight movies have declined in popularity. Comedies, thrillers, and gangster films replace them.
Director: Ousmane Sembene. Wanted to communicate his ideas to an illiterate mass audience.
Even after independence, many African countries remained under the influence of colonial powers-- films were European financed. Sembene changed from making French films in French to his native language of Wolof. Role of filmmaker = griot-- traditional African oral storyteller.
Xala criticized neocolonialism: African elites profiting off of dependence from Europe. Ell Hadji does not produce or create anything, but imports goods from abroad-- analogous to lack of economy in Africa. Agriculture is the only really productive sector of the economy, but its profits are stolen by a thief who buys western clothes and takes Ell Hadji's place in the Senegalese government. Allegorical: African elites steal from workers to import goods from abroad and don't create anything themselves. Impotence: Can't produce sexually-> can't produce economically.
Wong Kar-Wai, big on the romantic melodrama. Art cinema combined with commercial cinema-- In the Mood for Love is a romantic melodrama with big-name stars, but some art cinema conventions:
intentional obscuring of cheating spouses, other events, tons of dead time, sense of alienation, loneliness, longing, slow motion-- "cinema of time"
motifs of cigarette smoke, clocks, symbolizing time passing
Ambiguity of structure (Godard debt)
"glimpse" style: focusing on a detail of environment or body-- fragments of a scene
Apertures: shooting characters through doorways, windows, reflections, glass (French impressionism)-- resembles an indistinct memory-- "looking through a dusty window pane"