1920’s French Avant-Garde Film Movement

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  • Topic: Experimental film, Avant-garde, Film
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1920’s French Avant-Garde Film

The avant-garde cinema defies custom of the Hollywood narrative. It is called “the art, experimental, independent film”. This avant-garde films challenge to the main current in commercial films. Especially, 1920’s movements of the avant-garde film emerged as a strong part of the art culture in Europe. For instance, the Dadaism and the abstract film seek extremely abstract and emotional images. Also, the impression and the surrealism express subjective conscious and psychological condition through images.

When talking about the avant-garde cinema in general it is important to understand the meaning of the word avant-garde, which originates from the military and indicates the army in the forefront. In art film, the avant-garde can be understood as those in the forefront of creative innovation. Being in the forefront of creative innovation also means to move away from the mainstream. In the case of 1920’s avant-garde cinema, the influence of mainstream high art such as ballet, poetry, painting, literature was present, but more important was a love, or fascination, for so called low arts, including the circus, Hollywood silent comedies. As described in Avant-garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions,” thus in many ways the avant-gardes saw their role being both in opposition to high art and attempting to displace it, to become a new ‘high art’ so to speak.” (O’Pray, 2003), There was a desire to find a place for cinema as an art form,

“and to that end it explored the idea of a ‘pure cinema’. (Ibid), This was done by following the neo-impressionists’ claim that “a painting, before all else, is a flat surface covered with colour” (Rees, 1997), and thus seeing a film as a strip of transparent material before all else. Others worked towards a pure cinema by looking back on the primitive narrative mainstream before “it was sullied by realism.” (Ibid)

In political, economical parts of 1920’s France, it was hard time to filmmakers....
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