Absolute Film: A nonrepresentational film that uses film's formal characteristics,
design elements and structural properties to produce a pure, visual effect. This
type of structural film parallels developments in nonrepresentational painting.
Film: A film which represents recognizable images in such a way that the
content and effect is more poetic than narrative.
Film: beginning in 1907 with the
French producers' failed attempt to raise filmic quality to that of theatre and
art by creating the Compagnie de Film d'Art, certain films gained
art status through the significance of their experimental and aesthetic
explorations. Thus a distinction developed in the 1950's between commercial
films marketed for a mass audience, and those films whose aim was creative
license and artistic independence to be viewed by a more discriminating
audience. See films of Bruce Elder, Michael Snow, Stan Brakhage, Kenneth Anger,
Stan VanderBeek, Ron Rice, etc.
garde: A Modernist term which reflects the notion that progress is inevitable,
and where the most effective work is being done by a small group of artists who
are challenging historic conventions. This cutting edge of artists is viewed as
intellectually and esthetically more advanced, hence, the term Avant garde:
"front-line". Modernist Avant garde films became increasingly
nonnarrative in structure. See Absolute and Abstract film.
Comedy: A type of comedy which deals in macabre subjects such as nuclear war,
murder, mutilation, war, obesity, family breakdown, etc., ie. Kubrick's,
Dr. Strangelove or Clockwork Orange. TVs
double features became a popular marketing device in the late forties, fifties
and sixties, quick, cheap pictures were make to fill the bottom of the
double bill. See "Ed Wood" for a satirical look at one of Hollywood's
most notoriously bad directors of B pictures. Today's parallel would be the
Novo: The Brazilian movement for a new cinema in the 1960's. Related to New
Wave and Neue Kino. Cinema Novo directors include Glauber Rocha, Ruy
Guerra, Nelson Pereira dos Santas, Carlos Diegues.
term which is loosely applied to documentary form but more specifically means
the use of light-weight equipment to film directly from the scene of action and
normally using interview techniques. Unlike Direct Cinema, Cinema Verité
admitted that the presence of the camera made a difference -- had an effect on the
reactions, documentation and experience captured in the final recording. This
could cover a range of techniques from "in the field" news
interviews to Andy Warhol's single point of view documentaries, such as
"Chelsea Girls" and "Sleep," and Rouch and Morin's classic,
Like Cinema Verité this movement was based on a documentary form. Gone were the
well phrased and opinion-oriented narrations of early documentaries. Developed
in America where hundreds of feet of film would be recorded and edited to
represent an authentic record of events. Directors such as Robert Drew, Richard Leacock, Donn Pennebaker and Albert and David Maysies
created examples such as "Primary" (1960); "Don't Look Back" (on Bob Dylan)
"Salesman" (1969); and "Gimme Shelter" (1970).
versions of actual events.
Documentary: A term with a wide latitude of meaning, basically used to
refer to any
film or program not wholly fictional in character. First popularized by NFB
Director, John Grierson. See Cinema Verite, Direct Cinema and Docudrama.
representation of an actual event.
Theatre: In Bertholdt Brecht's theory, theatre which appeals more to the
spectators' reason than their feelings.
Film: A filrn designed to profit by serving a particular need or desire of the
audience. Examples: Sexploitation, Blaxploitation, Child exploitation, etc.
Generally, the kind of film style that allows liberal use of technical
devices and artistic distortion and in which the personality of the director is
always paramount. See German Expressionism
Noir: Originally a French term, now
in common usage to indicate a film with a gritty, urban setting that deals with
mainly dark or violent passions in a downbeat way. Use of exaggerated lighting
contrasts with an emphasis on dark tonal qualities.
1) concern with form over
content. 2) The theory that meaning exists primarily in the form or language of a
discourse rather than in the content or subject. 3) the Russian movement of the
twenties that developed these ideas.
Genre: The type of film: archetypal
patterns like the Western, Gangster, Science Fiction, Horror, Action, Drama,
Fantasy, Adventure, etc.
Expressionism. Style of film common
in Germany in the twenties, characterized by dramatic lighting, distorted sets,
and symbolic action and characters. The movement also involved painting and the
a contemporary movement, mainly in avant garde cinema, which celebrates the
physical fact of film, camera, light, projector, and in which the materials of
the art are, in fact, its main subject matter. Michael Snow, Tony Conrad, Paul Sharits,
and Hollis Frampton are important figures in this movement. 2) the cinema
of filmmakers such as Jean-Luc Godard and Roberto Rossellini, which combines
some of the qualities of the definition (1) with a strong conception of
political change rooted in the basic conflicts of concrete economic realities.
kind of extreme, simplified Realism: Car, Dreyer, Robert Bresson, early Warhol.
Minimal dependence on the technical power of the medium.
A theory of
literature and film which supposes a scientific determinism such that the
actions of a character are determined by biological, sociological, economic, or
psychological laws. Often confused with Realism, it does not simply mean
"natural" in style.
by political aims, the use of non-professional actors, location shooting, and
some handheld work. "Neorealism has as its goal: to give all people
courage, to give them consciousness as human beings. In the broadest sense, a
rejection of the technical-professional work staff, the script writer, included.
Handbooks, programs, grammars no longer have any meaning. Even designations such
as close-ups, reverse shot etc. no longer have any meaning. Each person has his
own personal film script… For there are endless
of encountering reality in the cinema. There can be no a priori." - Cesare
Zavattini, "Some Ideas on the Cinema," 1953. A style of filmmaking
identified with Vitorio De Sica, Roberto Rossellini, and Luchino Visconti (among
others) in Italy. See Realism.
Cinema since 1968.
New American Cinema: The personal cinema of independent filmmakers in the U.S.
since World War 11. Characterized by a lyric, poetic, experimental approach.
Wave, or Nouvelle Vague: 1) Godard,
Truffault, Chabrol, Rohmer, Rivette, et al. Strictly, filmmakers who began as
critics on Cahiers du Cinema in the 1950's and who were influenced by Andre
Bazin. 2) The term also used more loosely to describe all the young French filmmakers of
the attitude which emphasizes the subject as opposed to the director's point of
view. Hence, Realism is in opposition to Expressionism, where the director's
viewpoint forms the central subject.
Screwball comedy: A type of comedy prevalent in the 1930's and typified by frenetic action,
wisecracks, and sexual relationships as an important plot element. Usually about
upper-class characters therefore often involved opulent sets and costumes as
visual elements. "It Happened One Night" (1934); "Easy
Living" (1937); and "Bringing up Baby" (1938); are prime examples.
Highly verbal as opposed to the dynamic visuals of Slapstick comedy. See also
Slapstick comedy: A
type of comedy, widely prevalent during the silent film era, which depends on
broad physical action and pantomime for its effects rather than verbal wit or
Spaghetti Western: A European Western, usually filmed in Spain or Italy and popularized in
the 1960's by the films of Sergio Leone - "A Fistful of
Dollars", "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly."
Structuralist Film: A film in which the codes and structures of social arrangements are evident. See Cine-structuralism, Materialist cinema.
An attempt to connect reality with
the world of the subconscious mind to create an extreme reality where other
levels of the consciousness and meaning are revealed. Seemingly paradoxical and
bizarre, surrealist cinema approximated an incoherent dream experience. The film
works of Dali and Bunuel offer some excellent examples of this movement.
of Cruelty: Antonin Artaud's thoery
of theatre that emphasizes the stage
Solana's and Octavio Getino's theory of cinema as neither consumer goods
nor avant garde experiments, but rather as an instrument
of revolutionary consciousness whose products "the system cannot
CanFilm | Essays | FAQ | History of NFB | Images | Links | Film Festivals | Resources | Reviews | TRU Film Courses
Contact: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Last update Sep
Hosted by The Thompson Rivers University