Radical Cinema

Lara Feigel

in Literature, Cinema and Politics 1930-1945

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print July 2010 | ISBN: 9780748639502
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652938 | DOI:
Radical Cinema

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This chapter describes some of the cinematic techniques or aspects of the filmic medium itself that are seen as crucial to the 1930s cinematic text. It then moves freely between silent and sound cinema, ranging from the 1920s to the 1940s. Sergei Eisenstein used montage to illustrate the disparity between the wealth and privileges of Russia's rulers and the poverty of ordinary men. Bertolt Brecht's Verfremdungseffekt is characteristic of 1920s radical cinematic montage. In Charles Chaplin's films from the 1920s and 1930s, it is the constant movements of Chaplin's body that animate the film. Like Chaplin, Dziga Vertov uses the mechanisation of cinema to emphasise the mechanisation of the modern city. The film medium emphasises its own indexicality most overtly when it engages specifically with photography. The films that bore the index of their subjects also bore the traces of the cameraman.

Keywords: filmic medium; silent cinema; sound cinema; Sergei Eisenstein; Bertolt Brecht; Charles Chaplin; cinematic montage; mechanisation; indexicality; photography

Chapter.  14444 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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