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Re: [a_film_by] Re: Andy

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  • Dan Sallitt
    ... Sonbert is the non-narrative filmmaker I love best, and I think it s partly because his sensibility was almost a narrative one (and I d say an auteurist
    Message 1 of 11 , Jun 21, 2012
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      On Fri, Jun 22, 2012 at 12:03 AM, tharpa2002 <tharpa2002@...> wrote:

      > **
      >
      > The first issue I bought had an article on Hitchcock (the reason I bought
      > it in the first place) by Warren Sonbert a non-narrative filmmaker
      >

      Sonbert is the non-narrative filmmaker I love best, and I think it's partly
      because his sensibility was almost a narrative one (and I'd say an
      auteurist one): on the level of shot duration and cutting, he seemed
      sensitive to whatever innate narrative the shot might suggest.



      > For some reason I thought all the contributors were in more or less
      > agreement about the equal value of narrative and non-narrative, but I guess
      > this impression came from Jonas Mekas because he printed what he liked.
      >
      > It's certainly interesting that FILM CULTURE hosted American auteurism. I
      suspect part of the reason was that there weren't that many serious film
      journals devoted to mainstream narrative cinema at that point, and that
      auteurism and the avant-garde had in common that they generated serious and
      enthusiastic criticism.

      I recently saw a taped interview with Rohmer where he dismissed the
      avant-garde in terms more brutal than anything I recall Sarris saying. - Dan


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Rick S
      ... Well, you can pick up a copy of Politics and Cinema and read Sarris justification for his resistance to the avant-garde. As for myself, well, having to
      Message 2 of 11 , Jun 22, 2012
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        > I recently saw a taped interview with Rohmer where he dismissed the
        > avant-garde in terms more brutal than anything I recall Sarris saying. - Dan

        Well, you can pick up a copy of "Politics and Cinema" and read Sarris' justification for his resistance to the avant-garde. As for myself, well, having to suffer the grandiose pretensions of avant-garde undergraduates at SUNY Purchase who regarded themselves as great artistes was enough to turn me off the whole movement.
      • Dan Sallitt
        ... There s always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and the narrative people – probably we should try not to be distracted by such things.
        Message 3 of 11 , Jun 22, 2012
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          > As for myself, well,
          > having to suffer the grandiose pretensions of avant-garde undergraduates at
          > SUNY Purchase who regarded themselves as great artistes was enough to turn
          > me off the whole movement.

          There's always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and
          the narrative people – probably we should try not to be distracted by
          such things. In the last ten years, I’m pushing myself more and
          finding more and more non-narrative filmmakers whose work I like. But
          I still can’t get rid of the feeling that narrative changes the game
          in amazing and sophisticated ways. - Dan
        • tharpa2002
          ... There s always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and the narrative people...I still can�t get rid of the feeling that narrative changes
          Message 4 of 11 , Jun 22, 2012
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            --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@...> wrote:

            "There's always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and
            the narrative people...I still can�t get rid of the feeling that narrative changes the game in amazing and sophisticated ways."

            Many years ago Fred Camper worked out a theory that tried to unify avant-garde and narrative by finding a common underlying factor that he described as light reflected from a screen. The light can be modified in different ways, starting with relatively simple modifications such as "flicker" films or movies like MOTHLIGHT and TEXT OF LIGHT moving to heavier modifications such as representative images, representative images with sound, with stories, etc.

            On genre of avant-garde movie that somewhat bridges narrative and non-narrative is the "trance" film like MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON or FRAGMENT OF SEEKING. Then there are the avant-garde narratives of Straub-Huillet.

            Richard M
          • Rick S
            I don t know if Koyaanisqatsi qualifies as avant-garde , but it is a feature length non-narrative movie that didn t bore me. And that is the thing -- if a
            Message 5 of 11 , Jun 22, 2012
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              I don't know if "Koyaanisqatsi" qualifies as "avant-garde", but it is a feature length "non-narrative" movie that didn't bore me. And that is the thing -- if a filmmaker can make a genuinely "avant-garde" movie lacking a "story" that can hold my attention for 80 minutes or more, I will celebrate.


              --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "tharpa2002" <tharpa2002@...> wrote:
              >
              > --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@> wrote:
              >
              > "There's always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and
              > the narrative people...I still can�t get rid of the feeling that narrative changes the game in amazing and sophisticated ways."
              >
              > Many years ago Fred Camper worked out a theory that tried to unify avant-garde and narrative by finding a common underlying factor that he described as light reflected from a screen. The light can be modified in different ways, starting with relatively simple modifications such as "flicker" films or movies like MOTHLIGHT and TEXT OF LIGHT moving to heavier modifications such as representative images, representative images with sound, with stories, etc.
              >
              > On genre of avant-garde movie that somewhat bridges narrative and non-narrative is the "trance" film like MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON or FRAGMENT OF SEEKING. Then there are the avant-garde narratives of Straub-Huillet.
              >
              > Richard M
              >
            • Dan Sallitt
              ... The line is so porous - even the most one-sided viewer has to cross it sometimes. A lot of the difference between narrative and non-narrative traditions
              Message 6 of 11 , Jun 22, 2012
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                > On genre of avant-garde movie that somewhat bridges narrative and
                > non-narrative is the "trance" film like MESHES OF THE AFTERNOON or FRAGMENT
                > OF SEEKING. Then there are the avant-garde narratives of Straub-Huillet.

                The line is so porous - even the most one-sided viewer has to cross it
                sometimes.

                A lot of the difference between narrative and non-narrative traditions
                has less to do with the presence or absence of narrative than it does
                with the influence of totally different film cultures. For instance,
                when Brakhage scratches the emulsion, he's sort of allying himself
                with a fine-art tradition in which the celluloid is the medium. But
                one of the subtle points of the Bazinian revolution, which early
                auteurism grew out of, is that the true medium of film isn't the
                emulsion on celluloid, but is rather the ontological realism of the
                photograph. Like any other gap, this one can be shortened or bridged.
                But it's a real difference.

                In a very general way, the avant-garde grew out of various "pure
                cinema" traditions of the 20s and 30s, and consequently many
                avant-garde filmmakers still give editing the primacy that comes from
                it being a film-specific function. Whereas one of Bazin's
                transformations was a strong advocacy of impure cinema and of the
                value of relationships between cinema and the older art forms.
                Editing was therefore downgraded to some extent in post-Bazinian
                culture. Again, not an either-or thing, but a case of different
                parentage.

                My impression is that today's auteurist-influenced young cinephiles
                have mostly embraced avant-garde filmmaking, and that the generation
                of auteurists who gave the avant-garde a hard time is passing slowly
                from this earth. - Dan
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