Cloth $80.00 ISBN: 9780226174457 Will Publish January 2015
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226174594 Will Publish January 2015
E-book $27.50 Available for pre-order. ISBN: 9780226174624 Will Publish January 2015

Off-Screen Cinema

Isidore Isou and the Lettrist Avant-Garde

Kaira M. Cabañas

Kaira M. Cabañas

192 pages | 90 halftones | 7 x 10 | © 2015
Cloth $80.00 ISBN: 9780226174457 Will Publish January 2015
Paper $27.50 ISBN: 9780226174594 Will Publish January 2015
E-book $27.50 ISBN: 9780226174624 Will Publish January 2015
One of the most important avant-garde movements of postwar Paris was Lettrism, which crucially built an interest in the relationship between writing and image into projects in poetry, painting, and especially cinema. Highly influential, the Lettrists served as a bridge of sorts between the earlier works of the Dadaists and Surrealists and the later Conceptual artists.

Off-Screen Cinema is the first monograph in English of the Lettrists. Offering a full portrait of the avant-garde scene of 1950s Paris, it focuses on the film works of key Lettrist figures like Gil J Wolman, Maurice Lemaître, François Dufrêne, and especially the movement's founder, Isidore Isou, a Romanian immigrant whose “discrepant editing” deliberately uncoupled image and sound. Through Cabañas's history, we see not only the full scope of the Lettrist project, but also its clear influence on Situationism, the French New Wave, the New Realists, as well as American filmmakers such as Stan Brakhage.
Rosalind Krauss, author of The Originality of the Avant-Garde and Other Modernist Myths
“Cabañas demonstrates that films such as Debord’s Hurlements en faveur de Sade, Wolman’s L’anticoncept, and Isou’s Traité de bave et d’éternité actually materialize the history of cinema: the flicker of light/dark passages recalling the opening years of filmic rictus, or passages of silence bringing us back to the period before the entrance of synchronized sound. Off-Screen Cinema is magnificently researched and argued, a pleasure to encounter.”
Tom Gunning, author of The Films of Fritz Lang
“Cabañas drives a wedge into our conventional ideas of avant-garde cinema, the relation between postwar modernist art and film, and the origins of the ideological critique of cinema by revealing the neglected, yet essential, role played by Lettrist cinema in Paris in the early 1950s. In finely chiseled prose, she details the revolutionary aspect of the cinematic work of Isidore Isou, Maurice Lemaître, and Gil J Wolman, as well as the better-known Guy Debord, transforming our sense of the alternative histories and practices of cinema.”
Andrew V. Uroskie, author of Between the Black Box and the White Cube
“Fantastic. Off-Screen Cinema is an urgently necessary project, and a joy to read. It is an important book which I would gladly recommend to scholars of art and film history, performance history, and postwar French cultural studies. Destined to be widely read and discussed.”
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