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November 1994


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Donald Larsson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 2 Nov 1994 10:13:56 -0600
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James writes:
"I'm sorry I can't explain this any further than I have already. It's not
an intellectual discussion, just a feeling. It's not a judgement (as
everything seems to be), just an observation. There IS a difference,
and I thought maybe someone out in the cyper-space had felt it too, but
I guess not.
I still think there was a change around 1963 as a new generation of film
makers began focusing and intellectually deconstructing cinema. They
became aware of the power of film (not to say it wasn't already there),
and became self-referencing.
I struggle but yet still can't quite find the hold.
Sometimes I think you all give the film/movie makers too much credit..."
In general, again, you are correct.  There was a new generation of
moviemakers raised on movies and paying attention and tribute to them.
The ones who thought about and practiced it the most overtly was the young
crowd of reviewers in France for the CCahiers du Cinema who went on to become
directors themselves--Truffaut, Godard, Chabrol, Rohmer, etc.  Then American
film goers and (later) film students began to watch and ape *those* directors.
However, there have always been a number of directors before the 1960s who
were keenly aware of film as an art form and crafted their work accordingly.
Many happened to be European (Dreyer, Renoir, Eisenstein, etc.) but some
of those Europeans got to Hollywood and some directors in Hollywood had a
similar awareness.  The "innocence" of earlier Hollywood films is largely
due to the commercial pressures of the Hollywood studio-as-insdustry and
to the self-censorship imposed by the Production Code, but some directors
(and occasionally writers, producers or stars) found ways to work around
both sets of limitations.  Fritz Lang, Hitchcock, Preston Sturges, and
the better work of George Cukor are just a few examples.  By comparison,
an Oliver Stone or Brian DePalma seems to wallow in obviousness of either
the declamatory or visual sort.
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN