Critical Reflexivity or the Birth of the Auteur

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:
Critical Reflexivity or the Birth of the Auteur

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This chapter, which looks at the relevant appearances of basic formal principles of the second phase of modernism in the late 1940s and 1950s, examines the (re)emergence of the three most general principles of modern art in the cinema of the 1950s: reflexivity, abstraction, and subjectivity. The way and the circumstances under which these formal principles appear in the 1950s are quite different from those in the 1920s. Early modernism was essentially a phenomenon of industrial mass culture; late modernism was the first cultural manifestation of the information- and entertainment-based leisure civilization. At least forty years passed between the two modernist periods, and those years represented the most important phase in the evolution of modern societies: the period between the birth and the decline of the mass society based on heavy industry leading to the appearance of postindustrial Western civilization. The chapter first discusses another phenomenon that played a crucial role in modern reflexivity as well as in modern cinema in general as its fundamental ideology and one of its main distinctive features: the birth of the film auteur.

Keywords: modernism; modern art; modern cinema; reflexivity; abstraction; subjectivity; auteur; mass culture; mass society; Western civilization

Chapter.  9702 words. 

Subjects: Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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