Patterns of Modern Forms

András Bálint Kovács

in Screening Modernism

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print January 2008 | ISBN: 9780226451633
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226451664 | DOI:
Patterns of Modern Forms

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Referring to Alain Resnais's film Hiroshima, Eric Rohmer provided a particularly concise and general formula about how he understood modernism in the cinema. Rohmer's formula is a particularly accurate summary of all the important basic principles of the form of modern film: modernist art has a fragmented view of reality; the modern artist uses general and abstract principles of composition to reconstruct the coherence of reality; the foundation of this reconstruction is always in its composition an abstract idea; the ultimate source of the form of modern art is its own abstract principles rather than empirical reality. This chapter describes the main tendencies of modern cinema using some general traits related to modernist principles of formal composition. The first distinction is made between styles based on radically continuous constructions and those based on radically fragmented ones. The chapter discusses continuity and discontinuity in a film, imaginary time in Resnais's Last Year at Marienbad, the fragmented form according to Jean-Luc Godard, and the link between serialism and the structural composition of the film.

Keywords: Alain Resnais; modernism; form; modern art; modern cinema; continuity; discontinuity; Marienbad; Jean-Luc Godard; serialism

Chapter.  8204 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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