Modern Cinema Trends

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:
Modern Cinema Trends

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A variety of categories characterize modernist art films: style, genre, general aesthetic conception, and the cultural or artistic tradition a film refers to. This chapter imposes a certain order among these categories so that the general and homogeneous concept of modern cinema may appear as a coherent set of formal solutions characteristic of a given historical period. Three general thematic frameworks recur in modern films: disconnection of the individual human being from the environment, commonly called alienation; subjective, mythological, and conceptual redefinition of the concept of reality; and disclosure of the idea of nothingness behind the surface reality. These themes on the formal side appear as the “modern film genres,” that is, the most widespread story patterns that can be detected during this period. What we call “modern cinema” is made up of certain combinations of specific genres with specific narrative forms and visual styles. Three terms define the most general aesthetic particularity of the modern artistic form: abstraction, subjectivity, and reflection.

Keywords: modern cinema; art films; style; genre; alienation; reality; nothingness; abstraction; subjectivity; reflection

Chapter.  3827 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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