French Film Theory in the 1920s

February 26th, 2010

I know I’m going a bit out of order but I really wanted to post on the French film theory. To start off, Jean Epstein makes it clear that he loves close-ups. “The close-up is the soul of the cinema”. It is interesting he says that the close-up is the soul. The soul is the spiritual being of a person. I would think that editing, putting the film together and creating a masterpiece, can be argued as the soul of cinema. Maybe the actual filming of a film can be seen as the soul, having the actors on screen conveying a story or message. I never saw the close-up as the soul. I agree that close-ups are very important and extremely needed in film to guide the audience to look at important details in a scene. But i think calling it the soul of cinema is a bit over the top.

Another point that Epstein states is that unless it can be imitated and enhanced by film reproduction, it is not worthy in the cinema art. This goes along with his idea of the importance of close-ups; anything that is significant must be enhanced thorugh film reproduction. This includes even the tiniest of details. If there were no close-ups, only large items would be important to cinema art. With close-ups, even a smile or a twitch of the hand can be important.

Breton was the founder of surrealism. He attempts to express the subconscious. That is why he discusses Freud and his dreams theory. To be honest though, reading this, I did not understand majority of it. So if anyone has an idea, please let me know.

Artaud discusses the relationship between cinema and reality. he says that cinema needs that shock value to keep the audience enthralled in the movie. This reminds me of the film I recently saw, Shutter Island. I sat in the audience watching this film and I was unable to lose interest because I was completely enthralled in the film, with it’s mental twists and scary scenes. I wonder what Artaud would of thought about horror films. Horror films are filled with shocking moments.

Dulac asks the question if cinema is an art. I automatically answered yes, of course cinema is an art. There are so many different components that are involved in creating a film. the director, producer, editor, all the mise en scene, camera angles, edit transitions… All those components take skill and artistic decisions. Everyone can take the same script and come up with million different films. It is all artistic decisions.

Any thoughts?

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One Response to “French Film Theory in the 1920s”

  1. saramungiguerra on March 1, 2010 11:05 pm

    I took a surrealism class and TRUST ME Breton is not easy to understand. What Breton really tries to say is that true cinema can only be expressed through the unconcious. According to him, thoughts have too many limitations and you can only go so far without doing or saying things that will be rejected by society. With dreams, you can get away with just about anything!

    I also definitely agree with you that cinema is art, although I feel like some of the authors don’t see it that way. The way that films are made and put together takes a lot of creativity, and something that only a true artist can put together.

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