Why is postmodern cinema called that?

Steven Soderbergh - Postmodern Art Cinema


1 Introduction

2. theory
2.1 Film as art or art film
2.1.1 The European avant-garde
2.1.2 Neorealism
2.1.3 Author's cinema
2.2 Art Cinema
2.2.1 Contextualization of film history
2.2.2 Formation Art Cinema and its structure Art cinema narration according to David Bordwell Films and directors
2.3 Aspects of self-reflexivity in art cinema narration
2.3.1 Modernist conceptions of self-reflexivity
2.3.2 Reflexivity according to Robert Stam Historical derivation and dominant concepts Categories according to Robert Stam
2.4 Postmodernism
2.4.1 Contextualization of film history
2.4.2 Features and Films plurality of definitions Criticism Categories according to Jens Eder
2.5 Aspects of self-referentiality in postmodern film
2.5.1 Definition
2.5.2 Categories according to Bleicher
2.6 Postmodern Art Cinema: Comparison of self-reflexivity in art cinema and self-referentiality in post-modern film

3. Steven Soderbergh - Life and Work

4. Analysis
4.1.1 Self-reflexivity Film production Film reception Confident film
4.1.2 Art cinema narration / modernity
4.1.3 Self-referentiality and postmodernism
4.1.4 SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE: Modernism with a post-modern inventory
4.2.1 Self-reflexivity Film production Film reception Confident film
4.2.2 Art cinema narration / modernity
4.2.3 Self-referentiality and postmodernism
4.2.4 SCHIZOPOLIS: example of Postmodern Art Cinema
4.3.1 Self-reflexivity Film production Film reception Confident film
4.3.2 Art Cinema / Modern
4.3.3 Self-referentiality and postmodernism
4.3.4 FULL FRONTAL: Alienation through post-modern inserts
4.4.1 Self-reflexivity Film production Film reception Confident film
4.4.2 Art Cinema / Modern
4.4.3 Self-referentiality and postmodernism
4.4.4 OCEAN'S TWELVE: Postmodern and modernist tangents
4.5 Further examples
4.5.1 KAFKA
4.5.8 BUBBLE

5. Synthesis

6. Closing remarks and outlook

7. Filmography
7.1 Films by Steven Soderbergh
7.2 Other films

8. Bibliography
8.1 Steven Soderbergh
8.2 Art film, art cinema narration, modern and postmodern
8.4 Self-reflexivity and self-referentiality
8.4 Secondary literature

9. List of figures
9.1 Illustrations
9.2 Settings

Figure not included in this excerpt

“Ladies and gentlemen, young and old, this may seem an unusual procedure speaking to you before the picture begins but we have an unusual subject.

Turn! "1

Thanks to Thomas Christen, Margrit Thröhler, Anita and Franz Trachsel, J é r ô me Keller, Martin and Michael Gabathuler, Linda Marty, Iria Suppiger, Muriel Th é venaz and last but not least to myself and Steven for his films!


Godard is a constant source of inspiration. Before I do anything, I go back and look at as many of his films as I can, as a reminder of what’s possible.2

You're playing an actress. They're insecure. No, I'm not insecure. I'm freaking out! Yes. That's right. Brilliant! You're playing a role. No, you're playing a role. I'm apparently playing a real person. Yeah so? It's just wrong! You mean, like, morally? No. Well, yes. Probably-- It's not the point. The point is you want me to speak for someone who's out there somewhere. It's too personal!3

The two introductory quotations form the starting point of the present master’s thesis, which deals with the work of Steven Soderbergh in relation to what has yet to be explained Postmodern Art Cinema will deal with it.

The first quote from Soderbergh is also at the beginning of a cinematic analysis by Thomas Christen, which deals with the work of Steven Soderbergh and his art cinema character. His consideration is one of the few works on Soderbergh that analyzes the metafilmic themes and puts self-reflection in the foreground of observation. In this sense, the present work is also a continuation of Christian's perspective, which primarily takes up the art cinema aspect of self-reflexivity.

The second quote from the film OCEAN’S TWELVE marks the cinematic trigger for the investigation. The cited scene marks an unusual attitude of actors in a film who seem to be aware of their own fictionality, and anticipates one of the fundamental considerations about film as a constructed product, which is further investigated in this work and in film studies Context is set.

In the filmic analyzes of Steven Soderbergh's work, the name Jean-Luc Godard, with whom he is associated several times, is often mentioned. From the above quotation it is also easy to see what reasons these scientists have for establishing a connection with the French old master in his work. If Soderbergh himself names Godard as a source of inspiration, then one can assume that certain peculiarities of Godard's film work manifest themselves in the work of the American director. Just what are they?

One important thing in common is that both directors can be attributed a certain cinéphilia and this cinéphilia is explained by the fact that both are concerned with the cinematic work that lies ahead of their time. Godard deals with classic Hollywood cinema and the cinema of the fathers in his country, while Soderbergh deals with the work of Godard and other directors of the Nouvelle Vague, among other things. Where the fascination with Godard lies in the handwriting of Alfred Hitchcock, Soderbergh sees Godard's Autorenkino as his inspiration and accordingly tries to find a way to continue or update this film language. In the end, he finds a suitable platform with the medium of video to translate his personal reflections on media-conveyed reality into film and makes his first feature film SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE from 1991 in a similar self-reflective manner as Godard had before him. In other works he continues the experiment film and also applies it to film exploitation, where, for example, he is releasing his film BUBBLE from 2005 almost simultaneously in the cinema, on DVD and on a cable channel. But not only by thematizing the film as a subjective idea, but Soderbergh also thematizes the film as a new combination of historical film styles or as a remake in his other works. In addition to the modernist attitude of a Godard, the postmodern attitude joins in the course of his career, where Godard is no longer imitated in his innovation, but where Soderbergh copies his style and creates something new by reformulating or updating Godard's ideas. Where Godard concentrated solely on uncovering the construction principles of the film in order to show the viewer the illusion, Soderbergh mixes these alienation effects with intertextual references that draw the viewer's attention to the reference films to which the style or genre quotations refer .

This licentiate thesis deals with Steven Soderbergh's feature films with regard to these mixed forms, which are composed of features of modernity or art cinema narration and postmodernism. In order to summarize these mixed forms, after comparing the various film-historical ’tendencies’, the term of Postmodern Art Cinema Created to bring the various aspects of modernity or art cinema narration and postmodernism under one denominator. The most important feature of modernity is filmic self-reflection and in postmodernism it is self-referentiality. The first term regards the film as created fiction, which relates to the everyday reality of the author, and the second term defines the film as constructed fiction, which interprets the film in the context of other cinematic works. The research interest of the licentiate thesis is thus the analysis of the entire cinematic works of Steven Soderbergh with the thesis that the films represent a hybrid form of modernist self-reflexivity and postmodern self-referentiality. These hybrid forms are also interpreted in the context of the entire complex of characteristics of modernity or postmodernism in order to make a statement about whether they are Postmodern Art Cinema can be assigned or not.

It is also important to note that this investigation makes use of a neo-formalist film analysis, since film is viewed as an art that it can produce through its cinematic means. The weighting of the formal means and their analysis in the cinematic work is important because only this can make a statement about the essential construction principle of a story.4

The thesis is summarized:

The cinematic experiments in Soderbergh's films can basically be reduced to modernist self-reflexivity and postmodern self-referentiality and are thus the dominant construction principles of the respective works. In addition, it is assumed that in the works of Steven Soderbergh there is a coexistence of these two concepts, in which one construction principle is the more dominant, or the two concepts meet on an equal footing. It is also important that the respective construction principle must be interpreted in the context of the respective attitude of modernity or postmodernism, which means that the film does not necessarily belong to postmodernism if it contains a cinematic quote. Only then can a film clearly do that Post-modern Art Cinema are assigned when the respective concepts of self-reflexivity and self-referentiality in the context of modernity and postmodernism have been analyzed and their function has been interpreted. Since the thesis assumes that the entire work of Steven Soderbergh under the aspect of Postmodern Art Cinema can be summarized, at the end it is important to weigh up which is the dominant, overarching construction principle of all films and which context predominates.

The questions that are answered in this thesis are in the theoretical part under the questions: What is modernity or the type of narration and what is postmodernism? What is meant by the concept of self-reflexivity and the concept of self-referentiality? What is Postmodern Art Cinema ?

In the analysis part, the thesis is then pursued and the question asked: Which films can be attributed to modernism and which to postmodernism? Which films contain self-reflective and which self-referential elements? Are there films that place both concepts next to each other and through the respective context to Postmodern Art Cinema become? How are Steven Soderbergh's films structured and what are the dominant construction principles? Is there a cross-work, dominant, formal structure and what are other themes that manifest themselves through Steven Soderbergh's films? Is the work of Soderbergh Postmodern Art Cinema ?

To answer these questions and to clarify the thesis, the work is structured in two parts, which are separated into a theoretical part and an analysis part. In the theoretical part, the first step is to define modernity or art cinema narration on the basis of a film-historical contextualization and various positions in film studies. Chapter 2.1 examines the European avant-garde, Italian neorealism and European auteur cinema, as these film epochs are considered to be the forerunners of art cinema. Chapter 2.2 clearly defines the modernist concept of Art Cinema so that it can be used for later analysis. Chapter 2.3 explains the important aspect of self-reflexivity, which in Art Cinema usually manifests itself as the author's comment on his own work.

The replacement or reformulation of modernity by postmodernism is explored in Chapter 2.4, where the trend in film history must also be precisely formulated in order to be able to apply it to Soderbergh's work. Similarly, in Chapter 2.5, the various aspects of post-modern self-referentiality are illustrated by a typology, in order to contrast them with the typology of self-reflexivity in Chapter 2.6. The last chapter of the theoretical part is primarily about creating a summarizing, tabular list of all topics, attitudes and functions of self-reflexivity and self-referentiality, including the modernist and postmodern overall context, so that this complex of characteristics can be applied to the films of Steven Soderbergh can be applied.

After the theoretical part, there is a short biography of the director Steven Soderbergh in Chapter 3, who explains the author's relation to his works, which are then examined in the main part. The analysis of the categories set out in Chapter 2.6 primarily relates to four selected main films that show interesting features either in terms of self-reflexivity or self-referentiality. The main films are SEX, LIES AND VIDEOTAPE from 1991, SCHIZOPOLIS from 1995, FULL FRONTAL from 2001 and OCEAN’S TWELVE from 2004, which offer a good overview of Soderbergh's metaphorical oeuvre. The film analyzes are divided into two parts. In a first section the investigation deals with self-reflective moments and in a second part the self-referential topics are described. In addition, there is a sub-chapter in all analyzes that summarizes the other features of modernity or postmodernism. In a final subchapter, the respective films are based on the previous results Postmodern Art Cinema allocated or explains why such allocation is not possible. In chapter 4.5 the remaining feature films are briefly analyzed in order to also demon- strate these films Postmodern Art Cinema to be able to allocate or not.

In chapter 5, all results of the analysis are compared with one another and put again in relation to the theoretical part. In addition, the most important features in Soderbergh's work are briefly summarized so that a final explanation can be made as to whether Steven Soderbergh's entire cinematic oeuvre includes the modernist characteristic of self-reflexivity and the postmodern peculiarity of self-referentiality, including the other characteristics of the respective tendency - Lich Postmodern Art Cinema represents or this term does not denote a clear definition of the complete work.

In addition to the above-mentioned article by Christians, the literature deals with Steven Soderbergh in various work analyzes, interviews and biographies. The book Experiments in Hollywood: Steven Soderbergh and his films by Frank Arnold and Stefan Rogall's book entitled S. teven Soderbergh and his films are the only publications in German-speaking countries that deal with the complete works of Steven Soderbergh; unfortunately both writings were published in the same year. From today's perspective, the book offers a more up-to-date collection of analyzes The Sundance kids: how the maversicks took back Hollywood by James Mottram from 2006, which includes all films up to BUBBLE from 2005.

Where the literature on Soderbergh is limited to a few reading materials, the literature on art cinema narration, modernism and postmodernism is represented by many positions. A selection is limited to the most important works of the respective discipline and is mainly based on the explanations of the film theorist David Bordwell in relation to the art cinema narration and on Jens Eder's work with the title Surface intoxication to postmodernism in the cinema in terms of postmodernism. The book is about modernist self-reflexivity Reflexivity in film and literature by Robert Stam and on postmodern self-referentiality, which has not yet acquired a great theoretical foundation, is above all Joan Kirstin Bleicher's remarks of Forms of intertextual self-referentiality in postmodern film consulted for analysis.

In this sense, the licentiate thesis tries to put Soderbergh's oeuvre in a new context by filtering the analysis of the contemporary filmmaker's oeuvre through theories that describe two different intellectual and cultural movements in film studies. Since the entire work of Soderbergh has not yet been interpreted in this way, the work can be read as an expansion of the state of research on Soderbergh on the one hand and as an update and synthesis of two theoretical disciplines on the other, which are a post-modern reformulation of the ArtCinema narration as Postmodern Art Cinema describes.


In this chapter, a theoretical comparison of 'self-reflexivity' and 'self-referentiality' takes place within two concepts of film studies, both of which deal with the film as a construct, but are used separately from one another: 'Art-Cinema-Narration' and the 'postmodern'. Theoretical research interests focus on the functions of self-reflexivity and self-referentiality within these theoretical constructs and the associated differences such as similarities between the anti-illusory narrative of art cinema narration and the intertextual reference of postmodernism.

Since the present work primarily deals with the concepts of art cinema narration, postmodernism, self-reflexivity and self-referentiality, and these serve as the basis for the film-analytical work on Steven Soderbergh's work, it needs a film-scientific one, if possible clear determination for the later application of the film analysis. For the time being, a few questions will be asked of the film with the aim of getting closer to these concepts: How and why is film viewed as an art form that relates to itself? How does this self-thematization manifest itself in the film? What do references to other texts in the same text do? What are film scholarly views on this?

The theoretical part begins with a brief review of the history of art film in Chapter 2.1, which is placed in the context of the European avant-garde, neorealism and auteur cinema. A context is necessary for the term art cinema narration, since this artistically motivated narrative style can usually be recognized as a synthesis between auteur cinema and neorealism. This European cinema of the 1960s is also enhanced by classic Hollywood cinema5 defines another era of film that is considered the convention of film narration. Art cinema can therefore also be understood as a demarcation from the normative narration of classic Hollywood cinema. In addition to the contextualization of film history and the development of the art cinema narration, its aesthetics are described in Chapter 2.3 by explaining the cinematic parameters in relation to art cinema itself.

The modernist conception of self-reflexivity is connected to these theoretical considerations in chapter 2.4 and shows its character within the art cinema narration. It is important for the later delimitation from postmodernism to categorically define specific properties of its function so that this category can be distinguished from postmodern self-referentiality. Similarly, an attempt is made to define the dimensions of postmodernism in Chapter 2.5. After a historical contextualization of the film, the postmodern aesthetics, their design tools and themes are made tangible and examined in relation to self-referentiality. The postmodern categories and functions of self-referentiality found in chapter 2.6 are then placed and compared in a final synthesis in chapter 2.7 alongside the functions and forms of expression of the art cinema narration. From the different attitudes, features, themes and functions of self-referentiality and self-reflexivity, taking into account their film-historical context of modernity or postmodernism, the concept of the is formed Postmodern Art Cinemawhich is applied to the analysis of Steven Soderbergh's films in order to be able to say something about the intermingling of these functions within his heterogeneous cinematic oeuvre.


Since the beginning of cinematography, there has been a discussion about whether film can be seen as an art form and whether it can be equated with other art forms. The chapter film as art or art film will only provide early standpoints on the medium of film, provide information about the European avant-garde of the 1920s, shed light on neorealism and finally introduce auteur cinema as another forerunner of the art cinema narrative.

In addition to various points of view that praised or vilified the film at the time of its creation and establishment6, Rudolf Arnheim was one of the first film theorists to regard film as art: “It is the same with film as it is with painting, music, literature, dance: the means it offers can be used to To make art, but you don't need to. Colorful postcards, for example, are neither art nor do they want to be. A military march, a magazine story, a nude ballet just as little. And cinema is not film ”.7 In his essay he tries to systematically define film as an art form and introduces the elementary material properties of the film image, which are divided into categories such as the projection of bodies into the surface, the reduction of spatial depth, the elimination of colors and lighting, image delimitation and divide the distance from the object. It is interesting to examine the film image in detail, taking the tone or even the smell into account. In a time of the emerging entertainment industry, which was further driven by the introduction of the sound film around 1930, it was a matter of concern for Rudolf Arnheim as a film critic at that time to understand film clearly as art.

2.1.1 The European avant-garde

Peter Lev's essay on ’art film’ provides an overview of the development of art films: “The desire to make films for artistic appreciation, and not solely for profit, has been a continuing impulse in film history. The Film d’Art of 1912, the Russian, German, and French avant-gardes of the 1920s, and the early sound films of Buñuel, Cocteau, and Vigo are all examples of films self-consciously situated within high art traditions. The Film d'Art drew on classical theater, the German avant-garde on Expressionism, the films of Buñuel on Surrealism ”.8 Like other film encyclopedias, Lev traces the term ’art film’ back to the French production company ’Film d’Art’, which recorded plays at the beginning of the 20th century and sold them as artistically valuable.9 Lev also sees the European avant-garde of the early 1920s as the first movement in art film and thus a first artistic examination of the medium of film.

With films like LA SOURIANTE MADAME BEUDET by Germain Dulac, the origin of French Impressionism emerged in 1923, which is characterized above all by a cinematic attempt to depict the subjective impression of nature or an object and the associated inner states and emotions of a figure. The formal implementation of these dreams, visions or memories manifests itself in the use of blurring, point-of-view shots, slow motion or an increase in the cutting frequency.

The impressionist film was joined by the Cubist film in 1924 with BALLET MÉCANIQUE by Fernand Léger, the Dadaist film with ENTR'ACTE by René Clair, in 1926 with CINQ MINUTES DE CINÉMA PUR by Henri Chomette, and finally in 1927 with Luis Buñuels UN CHIEN ANDALOU surrealistic film. All of these films experiment with the cinematic form and draw attention to the structure and abstraction of the cinematic narrative.10

The avant-garde emerged in Germany in 1920 with the film DAS CABINET DES DR. CALIGARI by Robert Wiene, which is considered the cornerstone of German expressionist film and is featured in works such as DER GOLEM - HOW ER CAME INTO THE WORLD (1920, Paul Wegener), DER MÜDE TOD (1921, Fritz Lang) or NOS-FERATU - EINE SYMPHONIE DES GRAUENS (1922, Friedrich W. Murnau). Characteristic are the grotesquely distorted backdrops, strongly influenced by Expressionist painting, and the high-contrast lighting, which was supported by painted shadows. A surrealistic and symbolistic mise en scène creates strong moods and deeper levels of meaning.11

In addition to German Expressionism, the ’Absolute Film’ was created in 1921 with films such as LICHTSPIEL OPUS I by Walter Ruttmann or RHYTHMUS 21 by Hans Richter (1924). In contrast to the French avant-garde, where the filmmakers try out the cinematic means, the artists of the Absolute Film come from painting to film and create “cinematographically inspired painting”12that unfold rhythmically, dynamically and abstractly. After the animated films, Walter Ruttmann and Hans Richter reoriented themselves to the real film experiment thanks to the influence of the French avant-garde. This results in works such as MORNING SPUK by Richter 1927 or BERLIN, THE SYMPHONY OF A GREAT CITY by Ruttmann 1927. Both films can also be summarized under the aspect of New Objectivity.13

Soviet cinema had a further influence on the further development of film as an art form, which during the 1920s was characterized primarily by assembly experiments by Lev Vladimirovich Kuleschow, Sergei Eisenstein and Dziga Wertov. Constructivist films such as BATTLESHIP POTEMKIN (Sergei Eisenstein 1925) or THE MAN WITH A MOVIE CAMERA (Dsziga Wertov 1929) were made.

The film as art and the cinematic means of expression were further developed after the introduction of the sound film and the theories about it became more numerous. This training is examined in more detail in the following chapters.

2.1.2 Neorealism

After the introduction of talkies, Italy played a central role in the renewal of art film, as the filmmakers were reorienting themselves after the fall of Mussolini: “Once Italy was liberated in the spring of 1945, people in all walks of life were eager to break with old ways. [...] Filmmakers were ready to bear witness to what was called the "Italian Spring". The "new realism" imagined during the war years had arrived ".14 After Italy became famous for its studio films from the Cinecittà Studios, but these were almost completely destroyed during the Second World War, the filmmakers moved away from the studios to the streets and into the countryside and filmed things with a new concept of realism, which Cesare Zavattini in Alcune idea sul cinema expresses:

In the past, when someone thought of making a film, say, about a strike, he would immediately try to find a plot that would fit into the strike and for which the strike would serve as a backdrop; today, on the other hand, the attitude of reporting is adopted. One would like to describe the strike itself and try to work out the greatest possible degree of human, moral, social, economic, poetic values ​​that it contains from the mere documentary fact. […] The real function of film is not to tell fables, but its real function is that of all art, which has always consisted in expressing the necessity of its time, and we must call for this function.15

So-called neorealism owes its existence to displeasure with the restrictions and censorship during fascism under Mussolini. After this dictatorship and the occupation of the Allies, Italy's freedom of personal cinematic expression turned to the impoverished working class and urbanity: “The basic tenets of this movement were that cinema should focus on its own nature and its role in society and that it should confront audiences with their own reality ".16 This attitude also had consequences for the content and formal implementation of neorealistic cinema. Literary adaptations were rejected. Rather, the filmmakers should face social reality and, above all, show the impoverishment and unemployment of Italian society. In order to increase the realism effect, they worked with amateur actors and tried, if possible, to deal with the natural occurrences directly on site. This documentary attitude also manifested itself in the use of natural light and a hand-held camera in order to reproduce the observations as truthfully as possible.17

The necessity of this time was the return to Italian history with a moral index finger. With the film ROMA, CITTÀ APPERTA from 1945, which marks the beginning of Italian neo-realism, Roberto Rossellini tried to show the situation of the city of Rome from 1943 to 1944 and thus the Italian resistance movement against the occupation by Germany, which was based on real events . Formally, this snapshot of Italian history was built up through plan sequences as well as through the staging of the protagonists through long shots or half-shots in a spatial and social environment instead of close-ups. An important, if not the most important, achievement according to Karsten Witte was the breaking up of the story into episodes compared to conventional narrative cinema, which weighed the equivalence of people and things and the independent life of the scenes where the invented crossed what was found and what happened was determined by the randomness of everyday life.18

Other outstanding neo-realism films were PAISÀ by Rosselini in 1946, OSSESSIONE in 1943 and LA TERRA TREMA by Luchino Visconti in 1948, LADRI DI BICICLETTE in 1948 and UMBERTO D. by Vittorio de Sica in 1952, GIORNI DIE GLORIA in 1945 and RISO AMpe de Santis de Santis in 1949 by Giusep.

2.1.3 Author's cinema

When speaking of film as a work of art, one has to consider that a feature film cannot be made by one person alone. For a film that is to be evaluated in the cinemas, several people are usually involved in the filmmaking process during production, shooting or post-production. It was established early on that this creative process is not democratic, but rather, like a dictatorship, decided by a single person, the director: “And another artist is needed to create the work of art called cinema drama: the Director. The man who, like in the theater, no spectator gets to see and who is actually the creator of the GesamtkunstWerk. Especially in the cinema. He creates the pictures and moves the actors. He takes care of (and will have to take care of it much more in the future than it does today) for the scenic apparatus, whether the action takes place between the sets or in the great outdoors ”.19

The director bears all the fundamental decisions regarding, for example, the film material, the lighting, the actors or the location. In the case of large productions, however, these decisions are mostly dependent on production companies that see a film primarily as a commodity in an economic context and sometimes do not even produce films that are not suitable for the masses. Wherever the director takes on the absolute decision-making guarantee for a film, one can speak of an auteur cinema. However, this definition must be examined more closely.

In 1913 the term ’auteur film’ is used for the first time, but it does not correspond to today's conception of auteur film: “The term author did not mean then what auteur means today - the director of the film. Rather, the Autorfilm was publicized largely on the basis of a famous writer who had written the script or the original literary work from which the film was adapted. [...] The author's film was, in effect, Germany’s equivalent of the Film d’Art in France ”.20 Analogous to the Film d’Art, the cinematic expression in the auteur film was enriched by another, at the time higher art form of literature and thus made artistically more valuable.

Alexandre Astruc established the concept of auteur cinema in his 1948 essay Naissance d ’une nou velle avant-garde: la cam é ra-stylo:

The film is quite simply becoming a means of expression, like all other arts before, like painting and the novel in particular. After being successively a fairground attraction, an entertainment similar to the boulevard theater, or a means of preserving the images of an era, it gradually becomes a language. A language, that is, a form in which and through which an artist can express his thoughts, as abstract as they are, or formulate his problems as precisely as is the case today in essays or novels. That is why I call this epoch of film the epoch of the camera as a penholder [la caméra-stylo]. This picture has a precise meaning. It means that the film will gradually free itself from the tyranny of the visual, the image for the sake of the image [l'image pour l'image], the immediate fable, the concrete, in order to become a means of writing which is just as expressive and just as subtle as that of written language.21

Astruc understands the cinematic avant-garde as the personal expression of an author who can make a film as freely as a painter creates a picture. Modern cinema would be a very personal cinema and technology, film crew and actors would no longer be instruments in a creative artist process.

Jürgen Felix, on the other hand, does not see auteur cinema as emerging in 1948, but sees its beginnings in films such as UN CHIEN ANDALOU or ENTR’ACTE, which were already discussed in Chapter 2.1.2. In these works, he sees the transformation of reality into very personal images of inner dream images as signs of the first auteur films.He also compares the term ’author’s film’ with author’s cinema: “The avant-garde film is purely author’s cinema and, in its conception, is diametrically opposed to the early’ author’s films ”. The film should not be ’’ ’’ ’’ in the traditional arts, the cinematic narration should not be staged according to literary-theatrical conventions, but rather experimenting with the formal possibilities of the medium of film, the film is understood as an art form ”.22

David Bordwell sees the further development of the auteur cinema mentioned by Astruc in the founding of the Cahiers du cinéma in 1951 with its central critic André Bazin, but also other film critics such as Claude Chabrol, Eric Rohmer and Jean-luc Godard. SUNSET BOULEVARD from 1950 was titled in its reviews as a Billy Wilder film or FRANCESCO, GIULLARE DI DIO from 1950 as a Roberto Rossellini film to illustrate the author's signature. This ’cinéma des auteurs’ was mainly promoted by François Truffaut, which was reflected in his 1953 writing Une certaine tendance du ciné ma fran ç ais manifested and led to the founding document of the ’politique des auteurs’. In his article he criticizes contemporary films, which he describes with the ’tradition of quality’. In these films you can make out fewer filmmakers than writers, as they mostly depict literary adaptations. Jürgen Felix specifies this consideration: “Truffaut's polemics were directed neither against the 'tradition' nor the 'quality' of French literary and film history, but only against a 'certain tendency' in contemporary French cinema, which he provocatively called ' tradition de la qualité 'denoted “.23 The ’cinéma des auteur s ’ one saw in films by Jean Renoir, Robert Bresson, Jean Ccteau, Max Ophüls or Jacques Tati. According to the Cahiers du cinéma critics, they were all scriptwriters and film directors rolled into one, who wrote and invented their own dialogues and immediately brought them to the screen themselves.24 In a further phase, the American cinema of an Alfred Hitchcock or Howard Hawks was also seen as an author's cinema, since all of their films bear the director's signature. Peter Lev describes the relationship with America: “the post-neorealist history of the art film involves a revaluation, not a rejection, of American filmmaking. […] These critics praised the balance between popular cinema and personal expression in Hollywood film, and critiqued the narrowly literary French cinema of the 1950s ”.25 The ’politique des auteurs’ was firstly a form of hero worship in American cinema, and secondly, it had the function of making popular genre films, especially those of Hollywood cinema, an art on par with high literature. Third, the Ca- hiers du cinéma critics identified a personal signature in the films of directors who at the time were not yet incorporated into the canon of recognized cinematic art.26

The members of the Cahiers du cinéma were not only critics, but also made films themselves in a later phase, which were supposed to start a new wave across Europe. This young generation of filmmakers renewed the cinematic ABC and made a cinema "contre les papas"27that was directed against a cinema by the fathers, i.e. against the ’tradition de la qualité’. Jean-Luc Godard's A BOUT DU SOUFFLE from 1959 is a significant example of this film revolution and the beginning of the ’Nouvelle Vague’:

Godard's film was not only irritating to the audience at the time, it was downright shocking because it blatantly violated the aesthetic rules of narrative cinema that were still valid: it was not shot in the studio, but on the street, in the country, in the Rooms and offices to film life “where it is” (Godard). Since the film was filmed without artificial light, the faces cannot be recognized correctly in places when taking pictures indoors - despite the highly sensitive film material used. The moving camera uses neither rails nor a tripod: This gives the film images their nervous temperament, the scenes and sequences their lively rhythm. Most serious, however, were the technical and dramaturgical violations. [...] Wrong connections and elliptical narrative style characterized by “jump cuts”, in which dialogues and image montage often run asynchronously, negate the classic dramaturgy.28

François Truffaut created further experiments in film language with LES QUATRE CENTS COUPS in 1959 and 1960 with TIREZ SUR LE PIANISTE, Claude Chabrol in 1958 with LE BEAU SERGE, Jacques Rivette in 1961 with PARIS NOUS APPARTIENT and Eric Rohmer in 1962 with LE SIGNE DU LION. The cinematic work was not limited to the authors of the Cahiers du cinéma. With the film CHRONIQUE D’UN ÉTÉ from 1961, Jean Rochs and Edgar Morin developed a new documentary film style called ’cinéma verité’ or ’Direct Cinema’. The direct interaction between the filmmaker and the filmed was seen, among other things, as a film style that was very close to everyday reality.29 Another movement developed on the left, intellectual side of the Seine with the ’Rive Gauche’ - Group that included Marguerite Duras, Alain Resnais, Chris Marker and Agnès Varda. Resnais ’HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR from 1959 or L’OPÉRA MOUFFE from Varda 1958 were no less important in the development of the Nouvelle Vague than the other works.

Auteur cinema was applied to American cinema in a later phase: "In the early 1960s, American critic Andrew Sarris began promulgating what he called the" auteur theory "as a way of understanding U.S. film history ”.30 With ’auteur theory’, Sarris’s transformation of ’politique des auteurs’ appeared for the first time in Film Culture, an American film magazine founded in 1955 by Jonas Mekas, which was initially dedicated to avant-garde film and later to independent cinema and New American cinema. Jürgen Felix compares the American version of 'politique des auteurs' with its original: “If Cahiers du Cinéma had systematically pursued 'author policy' since the early 1950s, both in articles about Hollywood films and in interviews with Hollywood directors, Sarris was 'Praise for Hollywood cinema in the context of film culture is not the rule, but the exception. As filmmakers were his colleagues31 far more radical and less commercially oriented than most of the directors of the Nouvelle Vague ”.32

Examination of the auteur cinema has shown that the term is fundamentally controversial and cannot be precisely classified. On the one hand, authors' cinema is understood as the personal union of scriptwriter and director, and on the other hand, the cinematic signature of a director is sufficient to give the film its signature as an author. In principle, however, in the course of the Nouvelle Vague, which has developed further in Germany with 'Junge Deutsche Film', in England with 'Free Cinema' or 'British New Wave', a very personal examination of the cinematic language can be established. who re-established film as art. "Il n’y a pas d’œvre, il n’y a que des auteurs!".33


The first theoretical chapter has already been devoted to art film in order to highlight how film has developed as an art from its birth to the auteur cinema of the 1950s. It was shown that the film has gained its status as an independent form of artistic expression and not for nothing as "le septième art"34 referred to as.

This chapter is also dedicated to art film, but in a very specific form of ’Art Cinema’, whereby art film came to the center of an aesthetic-political debate for the first time in the course of the Nouvelle Vague and is understood as a separate narrative form and an independent concept of style. Chapter 2.1 can, and this becomes clear in the film-historical embedding of the term, be read as an introduction to the term ’Art Cinema’.

2.2.1 Contextualization of film history

To come to the point: there is no general definition of ’Art Cinema’. The term appears in different contexts, but precisely because of its ambiguity it loses its clear definition.

Basically, this is related to the fact that the term ’Art’, as a product of human creativity, always remains a subjective idea of ​​art. The definition of art cinema is therefore difficult, since art cinema is not a specific genre such as that of western films. Nevertheless, there are some tendencies that make art cinema a form of art film that is different from other artistic film products such as experimental film.

Both David Bordwell and Keith Grant begin their definition of Art Cinema through implicit approaches. They introduce the definition of art cinema by listing certain directors or certain films, to which they attach the manifestation of the later definition of art cinema and, at the same time, the manifestation of auteur cinema:

The term "art cinema" is one of the most familiar in film studies, marking out simultaneously specific filmmakers, specific films, specific kinds of cinemas, and, for some writers, specific kinds of audiences. The filmmakers implied by the term are such European auteurs as Michelangelo Antonioni (b.1912), Federico Fellini (1920-1993), Jean-Luc Godard (b.1930), and Ingmar Bergman (b.1918); the films include L’AVVENTURA (1960), 8½ (1963), À BOUT DE SOUFFLE (BREATHLESS 1960) and DET SJUNDE INSEGLET (THE SEVENTH SEAL, 1957).35

LA STRADA, 8½, WILD STRWABERRIES, THE SEVENTH SEAL, PERSONA, ASHES AND DIAMONDS, JULES ET JIM, KNIFE IN THE WATER, VIVRE SA VIE, MURIEL: whatever else one can say about these films, cultural fiat gives them a role altogether different from RIO BRAVO on the one hand and MOTHLIGHT on the other. They are “art films” and, ignoring the tang of snobbishness about the phrase, we can say that these and many other films constitute a distinct branch of the cinematic institution. My purpose in this essay is to argue that we can usefully consider the “art cinema” as a distinct mode of film practice, possessing a definite historical existence, a set of formal conven- tions, and implicit viewing procedures.36

What these two definitions have in common is first and foremost the choice of films and, secondly, their common view that Art Cinema belongs to a specific category of films that are characterized by a certain period of time and a series of formal peculiarities. Grant continues his definition of art cinema by starting from a detailed and a limited definition of art film. The detailed definition coincides with the definitions of other encyclopedias, which assume that the term Art Cinema originally goes back to the French production company Film d'Art presented in Chapter 2.1.2 and that the films of the avant-garde of the 1920s as Forerunners of Art Cinema apply37: "Germany, France, and the Soviet Union [...] These Countries did have their equivalents to the American entertainment films, but the art strands represented distinctive approaches to filmmaking that were aligned with the modernist and avant-garde artistic currents of the time: expressionism, surrealism, dadaism, and constructivism ”.38 David Bordwell also sees the birth of art cinema in the 1920s “In the long run, the art cinema descends from the early film d'art and such silent national cinema schools as German Expressionism and Neue Sachlichkeit and French Expressionism”.39 In the appendix of his article he differs a little from Grant: “More radical avant-garde movements, such as Soviet montage filmmaking, Surrealism, and cin é ma pure seem to have relatively without effect upon the art cinema’s style. I suspect that those experimental styles which did not fundamentally challenge narrative coherence were the most assimilable to the postwar art cinema ”.40

For the further definition of art cinema, it should be noted that the cinematic 20s avant-garde is decisive for today's concept of art film, but not all films of this era can be included. Bordwell makes it clear that his understanding of art cinema is different from experimental film, since in experimental film the experiment with perception counts more than an artistic approach to a story. Christine N. Brinckmann underscores this attitude of experimental film by saying that “many experimental films are not only non-fictional, but also downright anti-narrative”.41 Thus, the first finding for Art Cinema is that a fictional story can be made out in the film.

Peter Lev sees the beginning of the actual art cinema in contrast to Bordwell and Grant at the time of neorealism: “the key event which begins the art film's history is Italian neorealism, which demonstrated that low-budget, artistically ambitious films could reach international audiences ".42 He understands neorealism through its characteristics, which were highlighted in Chapter 2.1.2, as films that are less interested in a story than in characters and their social environment and a blatant break with the glamor and Luxury films by 'Telefoni Bianchi'43 Era. Lev sees the international popularity of neorealist films in addition to the message of solidarity and hope within various religious and political nations in the otherness and opposition to the narrative style of the Hollywood film: “Nineteen forty-six was the peak audience year for Hollywood films in the United States, and in Western Europe these films swept triumphantly into newly liberated countries. In this atmosphere, neorealist films were important to European intellectuals because they showed that there was a viable, original European film culture independent of Hollywood models ”.44 In addition, this free European cinema was also so successful because it revealed human experiences with art, sexuality or politics, which topics were not found in Hollywood cinema at the time. Finally, the neorealist filmmakers also received praise from the United States for their artistic and universal qualities. "The success of OPEN CITY, PAISAN (1946) and BICYCLE THIEF (1947) in the American Market opened the door for the distribution of European art films in the United States".45 Hollywood's dominance in the world market seemed to slowly falter after the Second World War. Bordwell also sees this tendency of departure: “Not until after World War II, however, did the art cinema emerge as a fully achieved narrational alternative. […] The post-war“ art house ”, a film theater or a city or campus town, was a symptom of the new audience: college-educated, middle-class cinéphiles looking for films consonant with contemporary ideas of modernism in art and literature. Parallel audiences emerged in Europe- an intellectual centers ”.46 In America, in addition to the mainstream, a number of cinemas developed that can be summarized under the term ’Art House’. In the course of the import of European films, cinemas appeared that played programs for which no commercial interest was in the foreground: “They played older, artistically demanding foreign films for a predominantly academically educated audience, which also often behaved in an elitist manner Kind of films that the art houses offered, used to symbolically demarcate their taste culture from the mass audience ”.47

But not only America, but also countries from which the neorealist and later the Art Cinema were exported had cinemas and ciné clubs in which special films were shown. Paradoxically, in France after the liberation by the Allies in World War II, American Hollywood productions were shown in ’ciné-clubs’ or by the French Cinématheque that you could not see during the German occupation.48 CITIZEN KANE after 1946 in a Parisian ciné-club on one side and ET DIEU… CRÉA LA FEMME after 1956 in an American Art House theater. A whim of film production history.

A second statement about art cinema as artistic cinema must therefore be made in view of its reception circumstances. Both European and American audiences have changed after the Second World War and are demanding new topics that deal with modernist, Marxist, existentialist theories or simply social, political and religious aspects of society. This new cinema has become a cinema for young people, occasionally triggered by the introduction of home cinema in the form of a TV in the 1950s: “the changing composition of the audience from a family one increasingly catered by television to one dominated by young people. […] the changing audience tastes consequent upon the demographic shift went in the direction of films with mature, adult, serious thematic concerns, qualities that were to be found in the new European films ”.49

Another important step in the development of Art Cinema is above all the ’cinéma des auteurs’, which was explained in Chapter 2.1.3.For many film scholars, the European auteur cinema of the 50s and 60s is the manifestation of Art Cinema, because with the very personal examination of the medium of film as author and director in one, the further development of the film language and in the course of the Nouvelle Vague with the creation a cinema that was directed against the prevailing, aesthetic narrative cinema, a new form of film art was established that had not existed before: “Auteurism sensitized viewers to narrative experiments that expressed a director's vision of life. It also prepared viewers to interpret stylistic patterns as the filmmaker’s personal comment on the action. Auteur critics were especially alert for ambiguities that could be interpreted as the director’s reflection on a subject or a theme ”.50 Bordwell and Thompson hereby fix modernist cinema in the form of art cinema primarily to the fact that every art cinema film must reflect a director's very personal point of view and that he can express this through formal means by specifically defining cinematic parameters uses to comment on the content of a story.

In summary, the historical embedding of the term art cinema has already been partially defined, since art cinema can be seen as a product of the development of art film as an alternative narrative form to classic Hollywood cinema. The 20s avant-garde introduced Art Cinema through subjectivity and the associated visualization of emotions, dreams and the past. Neorealism has other properties such as the episodic narrative, the on-site shooting with the existing situation, the staging of people in their surroundings through long shots or plan sequences, the randomness of everyday life as the influence of narration and the social and political themes of the term art cinema added. Ultimately, the auteur film has completed the concept of art cinema in that the director, as a poet, tries to tell a story, but the story itself is much less important than the cinematic means with which he tells this story and draws attention to it.

To attempt a more complete definition of the term, another approach to the term art cinema must be chosen, namely a structural definition that examines art cinema as an example and fixes its properties to the films.

2.2.2 Formation

The characteristics of Art Cinema found in the previous chapter describe its essence right up to the beginning of its creation. At this point in time, Art Cinema is not yet fully developed, nor has it experienced its heyday. The section on formation is intended to show how film scholars understand art cinema as an alternative narrative cinema, how art cinema has developed with its films and directors, a conventional form of the non-conventional narrative form emerges and what aesthetics this narrative form of 'art- Cinema narration '. Art Cinema and its structure

David Bordwell, the actual founder of the concept of Art Cinema as an independent narrative form, describes in his 1979 essay The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice the character of this alternative form of film, on which approach this section should mainly be based: “Yet I shall try to show that whereas stylistic devices and thematic motifs may differ from director to directory, the over-all functions of style and theme remain remarkably constant in the art cinema as a whole. The narrative and stylistic principles of the films constitute a logically coherent mode of cinematic discourse ”.51 As a constant that all art cinema films contain, he sees a narrative and form system that is explicitly different from the classic Hollywood system. He sees the main difference between the two opposing narrative forms in the cause-effect structure that defines the sequence of events. Where the connection of cause and effect functions as the basic principle of history in classic Hollywood, this dependency is much less clear, incoherent and thinner in Art Cinema. This loose "cause-effect chain"52 but is not the only thing that distinguishes Art Cinema from classic film form. He attributes the motivation of this loose narrative in Art Cinema primarily to the claim to realism:

On the one hand, the art cinema defines itself as a realistic cinema. It will show us real locations (Neorealism, the New Wave) and real problems (contemporary "alienation", "lack of communication", etc). Part of this reality is sexual; the aes- thetics of the art cinema often depend upon an eroticism that violates the produc- tion code of pre-1950 Hollywood. […] Most important, the art cinema uses “realistic” - that is, psychologically complex characters. The art cinema is classical in its reliance upon psychological causation; characters and their effects on one another remain central. But whereas the characters of the classical narrative have clear-cut traits and objectives, the character of the art cinema lack defined desires and goal. [...] Choices are vague or inexistent. Hence a certain drifting episodic quality to the art films narrative. Characters may wander out and never reappear; events may lead to nothing.53

The narration in art cinema is usually a metaphorical search for one's own identity. The characters' actions usually have no motivation and when the characters reflect on their actions, they usually have no answer: “The art cinema is less concerned with action, then reaction; it is a cinema of psychological effects in search of their causes. The hero becomes a supersensitive individual, one of those people on whom nothing is lost. During the film’s survey of its world, the hero often shudders on the edge of breakdown ”.54

This realism concept in Art Cinema is also reflected in the construction of time and space, which leave several options open:

The options range from a documentary factuality to intense psychological subjectivity. Thus room is left fort two reading strategies. Violations of the classical concepts of time and space are justified as the intrusion of an unpredictable and contingent daily reality or as the subjective reality of complex characters. Plot manipulations of story order (especially flashbacks) remain anchored to character subjectivity as in 8½ and HIROSHIMA MON AMOUR. Manipulations of duration are jutified realistically (e.g., the temps morts of early New Wave films) or psychologically (the jump cuts of A Bout de Souffle signaling a jittery lifestyle). By the same token, spatial representation will be motivated as a documentary realism (e.g., location shooting, available light), as a character revelation, or in extreme cases as character subjectivity.55

The concept of realism in Art Cinema is thus firstly defined by the documentary claim that manifests itself in films on location and points to social and political problems. Second, the actually secondary plot described above about the psychological wanderings of the characters is motivated or not motivated. Furthermore, temporal and spatial levels of this structure of subjectivity are adjusted and can show non-chronological jumps on the temporal side in order to indicate visions, memories or dreams. Externalizations of the inner emotional landscape or symbols for the relationship of the figures to one another can occur on the spatial level. André Bazin ascribes a life-like character to the resulting fragmented and slow narrative style.56

But David Bordwell sees a second motivation for the loose narrative form in addition to the claim to realism, namely the ’auteur’ character of Art Cinema:

The art cinema foregrounds the author as a structure in the film's system. Not that the author is represented as a biographical individual (although some art films, eg, Fellini's, Truffaut's, and Pasolini's, solicit confessional readings), but rather the author becomes a formal component, the overriding intelligence organizing the film for our comprehension. Over this hovers a notion that the art-film director has a creative freedom denied to her / his Hollywood counterpart. Within this frame of reference, the author is the textual force “who” communicates (what is the film saying?) and “who” expresses (what is the artist personal vision?). […] What is essential is that the art film can be read as the work of an expressive individual.57

These individuals are directors who specifically draw attention to their freedom and who, by deviating from the classic norm, impose their characteristics on the film. These deviations can be unusual camera settings and angles, an unconventional image section or an unconventional montage. An axis error or an unnatural exposure or scene indicate the constructedness or the subjective character by the author of this constructedness: "any breakdown of the motivation of cinematic space and time by the cause-effect logic can be read as" authorical commentary ".58 In Art Cinema the question to be asked is who is telling the story, how and when it is told in exactly this way.

Another sign of the sometimes more inaccessible narrative style than that in classic Hollywood cinema and of ’authoring authority’ is the use of flash forwards, which additionally disorient the viewer. Unthinkable in classic cinema, the insertion of a forward-looking passage that occurs in the future leads to a dissolution of the classic, mostly chronological narrative.

Realism and the individual expression of the author are the two basic concepts for Bordwell, from which the Art Cinema is conceived. He sees a problem in the mixture of the two motivations, since the realistic attitude fundamentally does not correspond to the attitude that draws attention to the way the story is told. At Bordwell, the solution lies in the ambiguity of Art Cinema:

The art film is nonclassical in that it foregrounds deviations from the classical norm - there are certain gaps and problems. But these very deviations are placed, resituated as realism (in life things happen this way) or the authorial commentary (the ambiguity is symbolic). Thus the art film solicits a particular reading procedure: Whenever confronted with a problem in causation, temporality, or spatiality, we first seek realistic motivation. (Is a character’s mental state causing the uncertainty? Is life just leaving loose ends?) If we’re thwarted, we next seek authorial motivation. (What is being “sad” here? What significance justifies the violation of the norm?) Ideally, the film hesitates, suggesting character subjectivity, life’s un- tidiness, and author’s vision. Whatever is excessive in one category must belong to another. Uncertainties persist but are understood as such, as obvious uncertainties, so to speak.59

Art cinema thus always seems to consist of these two basic attitudes of realism and the expression of the author. The question arises in each case which posture is present, which basic posture is dominant when both appear or whether both postures can be used in parallel. Basically, however, Art Cinema always has to be analyzed for its ambiguity. This also applies to the respective end of a film, as it often behaves in a similar way to the entire film itself: open and ambiguous. In the end, the search is usually no longer important or the characters disappear completely from the scene and only the things that were previously hidden around or behind the protagonists emerge.60 These art cinema films are designed in such a way that they are only half over when you have seen them. The other half is talking and thinking about it:61 "Furthermore the pensive ending acknowledges the author as a peculiarly humble intelligence; s / he knows that life is more complex then art can ever be, and the only way to respect this complexity is to leave causes dangling, ques- tions unanswered. With the open and arbitrary ending, the art film reasserts that ambiguity is the dominant principle of intelligibility that we are to watch less for the tale then the telling that life lacks the neatness of art and this art knows it”.62

Criticisms of David Bordwell's model can also be read as criticisms of neoformalism itself, in that other film scholars miss the socio-historical approach or the inclusion of political implications in art cinema and present the purely formalistic, aesthetic investigation of art cinema as an inadequate definition.63

Compared to David Bordwell's characteristics of art cinema, there are actually no other similarly detailed considerations that attempt to define this narrative form. There remain a few approaches that try to describe the term from a different point of view. Peter Lev refers in his essay The Art Film also first on the definition by David Bordwell, but adds an additional definition by Steve Neale64 for discussion at: "Steve Neale presents a" textual "definition of the art film similar to Bordwell’s, but adds a useful institutional definition. Neal’s textual definition describes a stress on character and visual style, a suppression of action, and an interiozation of dramatic conflicts as key features of the art film. In his institutional analysis, Neale defines the two goals of the art film: to counter American domination of European local markets and to support local film industries and film cultures. In an at- tempt to reach these goals, the art film is differentiated from Hollywood commercial cinema and attached to high art and culture ”.65 The fact that art cinema can be seen as an antagonist to mainstream Hollywood cinema and that European art cinema has also been received in the USA has already been discussed above. However, it is fundamentally questionable whether art cinema can be seen as an offensive counter-movement to American cinema or rather as a cinematic identity that was established after the Second World War and whether this new narrative cinema has been favored by the demographic change in the cinema audience.

Neale also sees the institutional character in the promotion of art film through a "network of institutions, including government-subsidized production, film festivals, specialized journals, and art theaters"66 of the respective nation. Neale even goes so far as to contrast the individual character of the individual film productions with an industrial, unifying and stabilizing framework of art cinema. Peter Lev also underlines the institutional character of Art Cinema by saying that Art Cinema is produced for an international elite audience and less for their own country. This audience is multicultural, non-chauvinistic and very tolerant of other languages, since these Art Cinema programs were always not synchronized and could be heard in the original language.67 Another argument for defining Art Cinema through its audience.

Dudley Andrew goes one step further68, which is also cited in Lev's essay. He sees the audience as the primary authority that decides what art cinema is and what isn't: “The identification of an art film depends on the individual spectator. […] Institutional and historical factors influence, but do not entirely determine individual choice. […] The repertoire of films that plays in art theaters is determined by viewer choices; exhibitor, distributor, and producer choices; the influence of art film institutions (e.g., festivals); and the range of possible interpretations of film at a particular time.69 Seen in this way, the question arises again whether the medium of film defines everyday life in society or society defines the reality of film. On the basis of the different narrative modes of art cinema and Hollywood cinema, one could put forward the thesis that in art cinema everyday life influences the narrative form of the film, since real life is imitated on film and, in opposition, film reality in classic and current Hollywood cinema exerts an influence on the behavior of people in society, since filmic life is imitated in real life. However, this question should not be pursued further, as it is not the subject of the primary research interest of this work.

To summarize the structure of Art Cinema, Grant's encyclopedia speaks of “narrative and textual qualities” of Art Cinema, which differ from classic Hollywood film: “In their place came oblique, non-linear, and episodic narration strategies , a commitment to "realism", both in terms of surface detail and complex character definition, thematic ambiguities, and overt displays of cinematic style ".70 It is also pointed out that Art Cinema concentrates less on the actions of characters and more on the psychological and sensitive character as well as the inner drama of a character and that the evident presence of the author is immanent in Art Cinema. So it seems that even one definition from 2007 cannot avoid the characterization of David Bordwell.Only the function of the Art Cinema is expanded by the fact that the claim to realism focuses on the existentialist questions of the intellectual bourgeoisie and thus a "mediative mirror" for this urban social class.71 will be held up. Art cinema narration according to David Bordwell

The definitions of the structure of Art Cinema have shown that the model developed by Bordwell is the clearest definition of Art Cinema. For the further course of the theoretical and analytical treatment of the present work, the term Art Cinema according to Bordwell will be used.

After his essay The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice A comprehensive book with the title follows from 1979 in 1985 Narration in the fiction film, in which David Bordwell examines various theories of narration, narration and film form, historical modes of narration and shows them using film examples. In his work on narration, he distinguishes four basic narrative forms, which are classified into ’Classic Narration’, ’Art-Cinema Narration’, ’Historical-Materialist Narration’ and ’Parametric Narration’. The classic narrative form was already presented in Chapter 2.2 and describes the most dominant narrative form in fictional film. Bordwell sees a specific further narrative tradition in the political left wing of filmmaking, namely in the ’Historical-Materialist Narration’, which stems from the Soviet cinema of the late 1920s. He attaches another narrative form to the parametric narrative style, which concentrates above all on the weighting of cinematic parameters and is expressed in the serial use of a parameter that is repeatedly reproduced in the same way or is varied throughout the film.72 We will not go into these narrative forms any further; the art cinema narration, however, is explained in this section.

Art cinema narration can basically be understood as a continuation of art cinema or it is David Bordwell's concentration on the narrative form of art cinema, whereby most of the thoughts on this already lie in the definition of art cinema itself. At the beginning of the chapter on art cinema narration, he again applies the realism claim of art cinema to "objective reality"73 the neorealism movement and the "subjective reality"74 of psychological realism, which would establish a new narrative form: "Of course the realism of the art cinema is no more" real "than that of the classical film; it is simply a different canon of realistic motivation, a new vraisamblance, justifying particular compositional options and effects ".75 With the concept of probability ("versimilitude"76 ) he explains the difference between close causality in classic Hollywood cinema and the weak connection between events in art cinema narration.

Another important factor that he did not explicitly address in Art Cinema, he describes with chance as a further influence of minimizing causality: “Gapping the syuzhet’s presentation of the fabula77 is not the only way that art-cinema narration loosens up cause and effect. Another factor is chance. [...] In this mode of narration, scenes are built around chance encounters, and the entire film may consist of nothing more then a series of them ”.78 Coincidence as a narrative motivation can consequently lead to unforeseen encounters or separations of characters who are on a journey or search. The art-film narrative style is therefore often episodic and picaresque and can lead to the actual story being pushed into the background.

What Bordwell emphasizes are the timing of "deadlines"79that are strictly adhered to in classic film in order to create tension. In Art Cinema, however, this is avoided: “By removing or minimizing deadlines, not only does the art film create unfocused gaps and less stringent hypotheses about upcoming actions; it also facilitates an open ended approach to causality in general ”.80 Here he emphasizes the open ends of Art Cinema, which primarily creates the objective realism claim.

The claim of the "expressive"81 or "subjective"82 In his continuation of Art Cinema to Art Cinema narration, he again shows realism by eliminating an actual plot towards a character study of a figure that is exhibited. Since the steps of the characters can seldom be followed, no goal to be achieved can be determined and the reasons for this are not discussed, it is important to speak of the cinema of psychological realism, the characters reflect on their fate, their destiny and their identity , talk and ponder. The resulting incomprehensible, meaningless actions are therefore not motivated in a comprehensible way, since the reasons for a certain behavior are excluded and this leads to an elliptical narrative that only reproduces the whole story in fragments. Thus, the themes of Art Cinema are primarily related to human identity and existentialist crises ("boundary situations"83 ) to explain. Loneliness, love, envy, hatred, loss, death, sexuality paired with the view of the individual on a subjective world and diametrically the view of the world on the subject.84 In the art cinema narration, a character wanders through different situations and thus encounters various individuals, places and times to which this character reacts by the sensitive subject absorbing his environment, being reminded of something, suddenly feeling uncomfortable or even must flee. But there can be a reverse mode of expression, where the mental situation manifests itself in the things that surround the subject. There is, so to speak, a juxtaposition of the expressive claim of art cinema narration and the expression of the author by referring to the construction of the cinematic attempt to externalize an inner emotional landscape.

According to Bordwell, the art cinema narration is only aimed at the formation of a character that is shaped or unsettled by the various settings. The coincidence of several characters creates "an ecyclopedic," cross-sectional "syuzhet pattern"85which expresses itself in a parallelism in which the viewer can distinguish and compare different characters and their respective attitudes. In this formal organization, this fragmentary treatment and weighting of the ’condition humaine’, which is expressed in a criticism of modern life, Bordwell sees the core point of art cinema narration.86

Another formal structure of Art Cinema is the use of different film parameters of the mise-en-scene: “static postures, covert glances, smiles that fade, aimless walks, emotionally-filled landscapes, and associated objects”.87 These peculiarities, which mainly focus on the acting performance, demonstrate the weighting of a character's expression towards the outside, which takes place in his inner world, and through these formal means they dramatize the mental processes of an individual.

In the course of his remarks on "subjective realism"88 Bordwell refers in passing to the various forms of subjectification in feature films that Edward Branigan 1984 in his work Point of view in the cinema: a theory of narration and subjectivity in classical film has shown. One of the interesting things about his work is the concept he designed, the “preception shot”, which he clearly drew from the “POV-Shot”.89 delimits: "In POV there is no indication of a character’s mental condition - the character is only’ present ’- whereas in the preception shot a signifier of mental condition has been added to an optical POV".90 He describes this "perception shot"91 with the cinematic parameters of the camera focus, the lighting and the zoom, which can become metaphors for the view of a protagonist by showing the view in a certain mental state (drunkenness due to blurring and light intensity, observations or the sudden noticing of a detail Mimic zoom).

This subjectification of Branigan correlates with the "subjective realism"92 from Bordwell. With regard to the art cinema narration, Branigan's definition from 1981 should be consulted, where he understands the subjectification as a special character of the narration: “I will define film narration as a positioning of the viewer with respect to a producton of space , and subjectivity as a production of space attributed to a character ”.93 Accordingly, the art cinema narration is oriented around the specific interior and exterior space of a character. Dreams, memories, hallucinations, daydreams, fantasies and other mental activities that relate to the current emotional state of a depicted character are thus reflected in the image and sound of Art Cinema Narration films. Apart from the formal means of mise-en.scène and the subjectification effects already mentioned, these character studies, which represent the main source of expectation, curiosity, tension or surprise, support further formal means such as montage, sound or film material : "Conventions of expressive realism can shape spatial representation: optical point-of-view-shots, flash frames of a glimpsed or recalled event, editing patterns, modulations of light and color and sound - all are often motivated by character psychology" .94 Bordwell adds the temporal dimension to these formal means, which primarily concentrate on the spatial representation as a representation of mental processes, and emphasizes the use of flashbacks, which, in addition to slow motion, the freezing or repetition of an image, are the most obvious manipulation of a story that is adapted to the conditions of psychological realism.

Bordwell adds that of the "overt narrational commentary" to the objective and subjective probability in his remarks on art cinema narration.95 which he has already described as the author's comment in his earlier essays. With regard to the narrative form, he emphasizes that the formal properties discussed in Section support those moments that create an interruption in the conveying of the story and make the viewer aware of its construction. These anti-illusory moments make it clear to the viewer that they are seeing a film, a subjective representation of the world by an author, and they are made aware of the ’made-up’ of a film. Where in classic film these moments at the beginning and at the end by listing all the people who participated in the film frame the film and call it fiction, this 'frame' in Art Cinema can also be felt after the beginning and before the end of the film and placed implicitly or explicitly in the foreground. About taking a picture on the wall, a view through a window96 or the insertion of an animation sequence clearly draws attention to the subjective ’excerpt from the world’ that has been selected by an author, director or cameraman. With regard to the narration, this becomes clear in the elliptical narrative style already discussed, where the author can concentrate on an ’excerpt from the story’ and hide important passages. The open ends in Art Cinema also mean the end of the plot of the film, but do not necessarily have to mean the end of the story; this is simply not included in the action: “To complain about the arbitrary suppression of the story’s outcome is to reject one convention of the art film. A banal remark of the 1960s, that such films make you leave the theater thinking, is not far from the mark; the ambiguity, the play of the alternative schemes, must not be held ".97 This reflection of the viewer about the film itself, the reflection of the film about itself, this 'hello-I'm-just-a-film' attitude is discussed in Chapter 2.3 under the concept of self-reflexivity in relation to the nature of the film. Cinema narration continued.

To the maxim of ambiguity raised by Bordwell and the question "How is the story being told?"98 To make it appear clearer and to separate it clearly from classic Hollywood cinema, a small comparison of these two prominent narrative modes follows:

Figure not included in this excerpt

Fig 199

In summary, the alternative to the classic Hollywood narrative cinema is the episode portrait cinema of the art cinema narration, which on the one hand uses a documentary approach to approach the psyche, the inner and outer living spaces of people and the truthful reproduction of the everyday, accidental life, but on the other hand is aware that the complexity of real life can never be reproduced through art and thus by imitating a fictional story breaks this attitude, making it clear to the viewer that these films are only To mean art and to arise through an artist and to reveal the means of producing this art. This almost schizophrenic attitude of the art cinema narration is expressed in its ambiguity, which admittedly pretends to represent everyday life to the viewer, but at the same time the author makes it clear to him that this demand for realism can never be achieved and he clearly understands the film through the weighting the cinematic parameters marked as film. Films and directors

In order to clarify the definition of the art cinema narration, the most important films by the most important directors of this art narrative cinema are briefly presented in this sub-chapter in order to be able to define the term more precisely in terms of time and scope and to create a cinematic reference point for later analysis .

David Bordwell sees art cinema narration as a creation of the late 50s and 60s, since this is the time when the overlap of objective and subjective realism and author's comment manifests itself most frequently and richly, and at this time the climax of ambiguity lies. He saw his first films in 1956 with APARAJITO by Satyajit Ray and in 1957 with LE NOTTE DI CABIRIA by Federico Fellini or SMULTRONSTÄLLET in 1957 by Ingmar Bergman. Ten years later, the actual stage of art cinema narration is over again, the last films are in 1967 BELLE DE JOUR by Luis Buñuel, HOW I WON THE WAR by Richard Lester or LA COLLECTIONNEUSE by Eric Rohmer.100 Other authors also see the heyday of art cinema narration during this period. The films produced during this period from 1957 to 1967 will now be listed on the basis of their directors and briefly characterized.

Michelangelo Antonioni (1912-2007) is often referred to synonymously with the idea of ​​art cinema narration.101 With L’AVVENTURA from 1960 he made a film that first deals with the futile search for a missing woman, but then abandons the search and allows the other two protagonists to find themselves. The narration here is determined by chance and above all by the reaction of the protagonists to their environment. Without words, the protagonists in Antonioni's films communicate with one another through their looks, gestures and postures.


1 Extract and picture are from SCHIZOPOLIS.

2 Soderbergh cited in Morton 2003

3 Excerpt comes from a dialogue in the film OCEAN'S TWELVE.

4 See Thompson 1998

5 We will not go into the classic Hollywood cinema, as it does not need to be further described as the norm of cinematic narration. Joël Magny offers a brief definition: “On entend par cinéma classique la période qui va des années vingt à la fin des années cinquante. Il se caractérise essentiellement par une forte prédominance des genres et l’effacement de toute trace du travail qui a donné naissance du film pour thunder au spectateur l’illusion que la caméra retrans- crit purement et simplement une réalité donnée. C’est l’esthétique et l’idéologie de la transparence ”(Magny 2004: 28). Further overviews of classic Hollywood cinema can be found in "The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960" by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger and Kirstin Thompson, "Narration in the fiction film" by David Bordwell, "The classic Hollywood Cinema" by Richard Maltby and “Classical Hollywood film and melodrama” by E. Ann Kaplan. The conventions of classic narrative cinema are compared to Art Cinema in a table in Chapter

6 For this purpose, the collection of art-theoretical texts by Helmut H. Diederichs offers a good overview of the beginnings of theoretical considerations and critical discussions with the medium of film. Herman Häfker, Gustav Melcher or Herbet Tannenbaum, for example, praise the cinematographic possibilities, whereas Konrad Lange cannot attribute an existence to the film that is equal to the theater (cf. Diederich 2004).

7 Arnhem 1932: 176

8 Lev 1993: 3

9 See Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 34ff.

10 See ibid .: 85ff.

11 See Bordwell / Thompson 2003 .: 101ff.

12 Term comes from the manuscript Painting with time by Walter Ruttmann (see Ruttmann 1989).

13 On the Internet platform of the Bender Verlag, Neue Sachlichkeit is viewed as a style of German film in which a realism is favored that is located in one's own present and which selects virulent social and psychological conflict structures as its subject and tends towards social criticism (cf. . Filmlexikon Benderverlag, online, 'Neue Sachlichkeit', status: October 3rd, 2007).

14 Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 360

15 Zavattini 1953: 12ff.

16 Hayward 2000: 202

17 See Hayward 1993: 203

18 See Witte 1991: 19

19 Christmas tree 1912: 142

20 Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 58

21 Astruc 1948 in the German translation of Kotulla 1964: 111

22 Felix 2003: 21

23 Felix 2003: 24

24 Truffaut 1964: 127

25 Lev 1993: 10

26 Compare Felix 2003: 29

27 Bordwell / Thompson 1993: 440

28 Hague 1995: 1

29 Bordwell / Thompson 1993: 487

30 Ibid .: 1993: 416

31 Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage were both experimental filmmakers and members of Film Culture.

32 Felix 2003: 31

33 A quote from Truffaut referring to Jean Giraudoux, a French writer (cf. Magny 2004: 16ff).

34 Aumont 2003: 1ff.

35 Grant 2007: 115

36 Bordwell 1979: 56

37 See Benderverlag film lexicon, online (’Art Cinema’, as of October 3, 2007).

38 Grant 2007: 117

39 Bordwell 1979: 56

40 Ibid .: 63

41 Brinckmann 1993: 418

42 Lev 1993: 7

43 Bordwell and Thompson describe this phenomenon as follows: “Italian studios turned out romantic melodramas, typically set among the rich. When presented in a glossy modern decor, these were known as white telephone films ”(Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 278).

44 Lev 1993: 8

45 Lev 1993: 9

46 Bordwell 1988: 230

47 See Benderverlag film lexicon, online (’Art House’, as of October 3, 2007).

48 See Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 374

49 Grant 2007: 118

50 See Bordwell / Thompson 2003: 416

51 Bordwell 1979: 57

52 See ibid .: 57

53 Ibid .: 58

54 Bordwell 1979: 58

55 Ibid .: 58f

56 See ibid .: 59

57 Bordwell 1979: 59

58 Ibid: 59

59 Ibid .: 60

60 A vivid example can be found in L’ECLISSE by Michelangelo Antonioni from 1962.

61 See Steven Soderbergh's statement on Solaris (Rogal 2003: 224).

62 Bordwell 1979: 61

63 See Hartmann / Wulf 2003: 191 / Lev 1993: 4

64 See Neale 1981