Discussion Board Posts

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Writer’s Director or Director’s Writer – Hardik

In “A Certain Tendency of the French Cinema,” an essay he wrote when he was only twenty-two, François Truffaut prescribes in many words dismissing novelists as screen-writers from the process of film-making in favor of the director’s voice to emerge. Novelists, when tasked with writing for the screen, try to bend and press the film in favor of “that famous faithfulness” to the literary source at hand (Truffaut 226). An example of this is the “process of equivalence,” whereby instead of “omitting” the “unfilmable” portions of a literary work, when adapting, novelists try to pass up an “equivalent” scene for …

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European New Waves: France (Anthony S.)

In “Making Waves: New Cinemas of the 1960’s,” Geoffrey Nowell-Smth offers his answer to the question, “what is real cinema?” by pointing directly at pre01960 films. He suggests that the films produced then exemplified cinema with a purpose, with a set of academic rules, and a clear artistic expression. It was the “Italian neo-realism, whether interpreted by Zavattini or by Bazin, [that] continued to have an enormous impact outside of Europe even after it had fallen out of fashion in Italy itself”(38). Alain Renais provides a beautifully filmed, aesthetically intriguing example in Hiroshima mon amour. Renais gives audiences a look …

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Hiroshina Mon Amour (Andrea N)

The first part of the film has a clearer documentary approach to the horrors of the atomic bomb, but the conversation that takes place between the female and male character keeps the viewer reflecting about the meaning and power of memory and how it’s perceived by the survivors in comparison with how is perceived by outsiders. Being a victim of the war herself, the female character identifies her lover as an extension the memories of her lost love while the male character insists on keeping her close. It seems like by establishing this physical connection the two characters merge their …

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Alian Resnais_Hao

Alian Resnais, according to Nowell-Smith, is an alternative to the Cahiers group who swims at the forefront of French New Wave. His film is also unlike any other European contemporaries and film aesthetics, such as neo-realism in Italy. Nowell-Smith illustrates the differences between Resnais and other filmmakers with detailed accounts of the political, economic, and social atmosphere that influences Resnais. According to Nowell-Smith, Resnais’ film is interested in “time and experience,” has a political agenda, plays a narrative game in his films, prefers actors with a theatrical background, benefits from the state funding, and the film climate of less market-oriented, …

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Hiroshima Mon Amour and Flashbacks

This week I ended up watching the movie before reading any of the readings. I have to say this allowed me to pay attention to the movie more to see if I can find any details that make this film different than the ones we have seen before. In Hiroshima Mon Amour, I noticed that flashbacks were used quite often while telling the story. The flashbacks were mainly used when the French woman was recalling her past love. The flashbacks allows for the story to be told in a non-liberal timeline. I believe this is the first movie we have seen that …

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Hiroshima mon Amour and embodied memory

The first lines of Hiroshima mon Amour, spoken over intimately entwined, faceless limbs, are a negation of a story we haven’t yet heard. “You saw nothing in Hiroshima,” says a male voice, “Nothing,” before it is countered by a woman asserting, “I saw everything.” The viewer, then, is also shown ‘everything’—a museum display including an illustrated mushroom cloud, preserved human flesh, scientific explanations. Video footage of what our female narrator describes as “temporary survivors” of the blast, intercut back with the faceless, clinging bodies and the male negation.  Nowell-Smith asserts that Hiroshima mon Amour “center[s] traumatized memory and non-memory on …

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Paisa and historicity

In Some Ideas on the Cinema, Cesare Zavattini says of neorealism in film-making, “the question is: how to give human life its historical importance at every moment.” In some ways, neorealism returns us to the very beginnings of film-making. The emphasis Zavattini makes here on depth over narrative, on elevating the banal, reminds me of the first short clips from Edison and the Lumiere brothers, before true narrative or story films emerged, when the act of catching something on film was itself noteworthy and fascinating. I found myself wondering what a neorealist reexamination of those same moments would look like: …

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“Our” Ideas – Hardik

Addressing the general accusation that “neorealism only describes poverty,” Cesare Zavattini reasons that the case is so because poverty is “one of the most vital realities of our time, and I challenge anyone to prove the contrary” (222). He adds: There is still much more to say [about poverty]. I put myself among the rich… because I am also in a position to create oppression and injustice. (Zavattini 222) He is, to be fair, speaking to the question of ultimately stopping making movies on poverty––he refuses to stop––albeit with a disclaimer, in 1952, that neorealists have only begun the project …

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Realism, commerce, audience

This week’s central topic is neorealism. The essays by Andre Bazin, Cesare Zavattini, and Satyajit Ray all point out some common issues, such as social consciousness, audience, and production practices. I began to understand that this movement was the result of multiple historical and cultural forces. Film theorist and critic Siegfried Kracaucer had emphasized the importance of a social-conscious cinema, something that is repeatedly reflected in his works between 20s and 30s works. The rise of documentary, which is mentioned by Ray, also influenced the neorealism movement. Another film form that had been popular for decades before the 40s is …

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Sensitivity in neo-realism (DM)

From the two films we were supposed to watch this week, I watched “Paisà” first. After watching it I said to myself “wow, this is incredible! this mix of documentary and fictional footage, the work of the non-actors, the music… I am really impressed!”. The next day I watched “Pather Panchali”, and I have to say, this completely different, “humanistic”, sensitive view of various aspects of a poor family’s life was heart-melting. Both films seemed to have completely different ways of approaching realism, and I have to say that “Pather Panchali” touched me the most. I have to say that …

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