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French Film 106B Essay - Syal 1 Amar Syal Professor Janet...

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Syal 1 Amar Syal Professor Janet Bergstrom T.A. Emily Carman FTV 106B: History of French Cinema 1 June 2004 Envisioning French Film Prompt 4: Throughout French cinematic history, a common refrain has been to “make French films French.” Pick two French film movements – the avant-garde of the 1920’s, poetic realism, Vichy film, the New Wave – and compare and contrast how each movement envisioned “French film” and how that vision was represented thematically and stylistically. Use specific examples. From Marcel Pagnol’s Angèle to Jean Renoir’s Grand Illusion, the avant-garde and poetic realism movements occupied the early beginnings of French cinematic history. The avant-garde was the first movement of French society which was widely reflected in art such as film making. Poetic realism was a second wave of movement in France following the avant-garde in response to an outgrowth of the Popular Front. Both movements acquired different styles in French cinema referring to the common refrain of making French films French. These styles reflected the everyday feelings and happenings of France from politics to warfare. Thematically, the films paralleled the themes of daily life at the time they were released. Although both movements were a small portion of overall French Film, there contribution to cinema worldwide made a huge impact on the way films are made nowadays. One major component to the avant-garde was surrealism. Surrealism was a movement for the liberation of the mind where everything expressed was free of reason and free of convention. Surrealism began in 1924 in Paris by André Breton who wrote
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Syal 2 Manifeste Du Surréalisme, yet was previously seen in poetic writings by French authors (Surrealism). Surrealism was highly expressed in French films such as Angèle , directed by Marcel Pagnol and released in 1934. Angèle presents an idealistic view of life, reflecting Pagnol’s affection for the region perhaps more than the serious reality of the situation (French Films). Vision was represented stylistically with the use of location filming and direct sound. The scenery in the movie captured realistic France and thematically portrayed the city as a calm and peaceful place. An Andalusian Dog was another film of surrealism directed by Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dalí, released in 1928. An Andalusian Dog opens with a disturbing scene where a woman's eye is split by a razor. The film continues showing a series of surreal scenes including a man dragging two grand pianos containing dead donkeys and a scene where ants emerge from a hole in a human hand. The vision stylistically and thematically portrays a sense of surrealism with the disturbing images in every scene. Impressionism was another component of the avant-garde movement.
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