Re: Avant-garde & Narrative (was Andy)
- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org, "tharpa2002" <tharpa2002@...> wrote:
> --- In email@example.com, Dan Sallitt <sallitt@> wrote:
> "There's always been a funny power dynamic between the avant-garde and
> the narrative people...I still canï¿½t 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
> On genre of avant-garde movie that somewhat bridges narrative andThe line is so porous - even the most one-sided viewer has to cross it
> 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.
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
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