Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226451633 Published January 2008
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226451657 Published January 2008
E-book $7.00 to $29.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226451664 Published September 2008

Screening Modernism

European Art Cinema, 1950-1980

András Bálint Kovács

András Bálint Kovács

432 pages | 102 halftones | 6 x 9 | © 2007
Cloth $65.00 ISBN: 9780226451633 Published January 2008
Paper $29.00 ISBN: 9780226451657 Published January 2008
E-book $7.00 to $29.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226451664 Published September 2008
Casting fresh light on the renowned productions of auteurs like Antonioni, Fellini, and Bresson and drawing out from the shadows a range of important but lesser-known works, Screening Modernism is the first comprehensive study of European art cinema’s postwar heyday.

Spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s, András Bálint Kovács’s encyclopedic work argues that cinematic modernism was not a unified movement with a handful of styles and themes but rather a stunning range of variations on the core principles of modern art. Illustrating how the concepts of modernism and the avant-garde variously manifest themselves in film, Kovács begins by tracing the emergence of art cinema as a historical category. He then explains the main formal characteristics of modern styles and forms as well as their intellectual foundation. Finally, drawing on modernist theory and philosophy along the way, he provides an innovative history of the evolution of modern European art cinema.

Exploring not only modernism’s origins but also its stylistic, thematic, and cultural avatars, Screening Modernism ultimately lays out creative new ways to think about the historical periods that comprise this golden age of film.

CINEMA & Cie. International Film Studies Journal: VII Limina Award for the Best International Cinema Studies Book
Won
for the best international cinema studies book published in 2008

View Recent Awards page for more award winning books.
David Bordwell, University of Wisconsin–Madison

Few scholars have thought so carefully about what constitutes the modern cinema as András Bálint Kovács. Screening Modernism is at once a nuanced synthesis of philosophical ideas and an original, comprehensive mapping of postwar artistic tendencies. Through sensitive analyses of Bergman, Antonioni, Godard, Bresson, Resnais, and other world-class directors, Kovács forcefully shows their rich legacy and suggests its continuing relevance for us. Everyone interested in the expressive resources of cinema, past and present, will want to read this book.”

William Rothman, University of Miami

“András Bálint Kovács has written a monumental work. Impressive in its scope, erudition, originality, critical acumen, and philosophical sophistication, Screening Modernism is a landmark historical study of modernist cinema that makes a permanent contribution to the field.”

Contents
Acknowledgments
Introduction
 
Part One: What Is the Modern?
1 THEORIZING MODERNISM
   Modern
   Modernism
   Avant-garde
   Cinema and Modernism: The First Encounter
   The Institution of the Art Film
   Modernist Art Cinema and the Avant-Garde

2 THEORIES OF THE CLASSICAL/MODERN DISTINCTION IN CINEMA
   Style Analysts
   Evolutionists
   Modern Cinema and Deleuze
   Modernism as an Unfinished Project
Part Two: The Forms of Modernism

3 MODERN ART CINEMA: STYLE OR MOVEMENT?

4 NARRATION IN MODERN CINEMA
   Classical versus Modernist Art Films
   The Alienation of the Abstract Individual
   Who Is “the Individual” in Modern Cinema?
   The Role of Chance
   Open-Ended Narrative
   Narrative Trajectory Patterns: Linear, Circular, Spiral

5 GENRE IN MODERN CINEMA
   Melodrama and Modernism Excursus: Sartre and the Philosophy of Nothingness
   A Modern Melodrama: Antonioni’s Eclipse (1962)
   Other Genres and Recurrent Plot Elements
   Investigation
   Wandering/Travel
   The Mental Journey
   Closed-Situation Drama
   Satire/Genre Parody
   The Film Essay

6 PATTERNS OF MODERN STYLES
   Primary Formation: Continuity and Discontinuity
   Radical Continuity
   Imaginary Time in Last Year at Marienbad
   Radical Discontinuity
   The Fragmented Form according to Godard
   Serial Form

7 STYLES AND FORMS OF MODERNISM
   Minimalist Forms
   The Bresson Form
   Abstract Subjectivity and the “Model”
   Bresson and His Followers
   Analytical Minimalism: The Antonioni Form
   Psychic Landscape?
   Continuity
   Antonioni and His Followers
   Expressive Minimalism

8 NATURALIST FORMS
   Post-neorealism
   Cinéma Vérité
   The “New Wave” Style

9 ORNAMENTAL FORMS

10 THEATRICAL FORMS

11 MODERN CINEMA TRENDS
   The Family Tree of Modern Cinema
   Part Three: Appearance and Propagation of Modernism (1949–1958)

12 CRITICAL REFLEXIVITY OR THE BIRTH OF THE AUTEUR
   The Birth of the Auteur
   Historical Forms of Reflexivity
   The Emergence of Critical Reflexivity: Bergman’s Prison
   Reflexivity and Abstraction: Modern Cinema and the Nouveau Roman

13 THE RETURN OF THE THEATRICAL
   Abstract Drama 

14 THE DESTABILIZATION OF THE FABULA: NEOREALISM AND MODERNISM
   Voice-Over Narration
   The Dissolution of Classical Narrative: Film Noir and Modernism
   Fabula Alternatives: Hitchcock
   Alternative Subjective Narration: Rashomon

15 AN ALTERNATIVE TO THE CLASSICAL FORM 
   The End of Neorealism
   Modernism in Story of a Love Affair: Neorealism Meets Film Noir
   Rosselini: The “Neorealist Miracle” 
Part Four: The Short Story of Modern Cinema (1959–1975)

16 THE ROMANTIC PERIOD, 1959–1961
   Neorealism: The Reference
   Eastern Europe: From Socialist Realism toward Neorealism
   Heroism versus Modernism
   Jerzy Kawalerowicz: The First Modern Polish Auteur
   The Year 1959
   Forms of Romantic Modernism
   Genre and Narration in the Early Years
   Sound and Image
   Background and Foreground
   From Hiroshima to Marienbad: Modernism and the Cinema of the Elite
   The Production System of the “New Cinema”

17 ESTABLISHED MODERNISM, 1962–1966
   Western Europe around 1962
   The Key Film of 1962: Fellini’s 8 ½
   Central Europe
   Czechoslovak Grotesque Realism
   The “Central European Experience”
   Jancsó and the Ornamental Style 
Summary

18 THE YEAR 1966
   The Loneliness of the Auteur

19 POLITICAL MODERNISM, 1967–1975
   The Year 1968
   Conceptual Modernism: The Auteur’s New World
   Reconstructing Reality
   Counter-Cinema: Narration as a Direct Auteurial Discourse
   The Film as a Means of Direct Political Action
   Parabolic Discourse
   Teorema
   The Auteur’s Private Mythology
   The Self-Critique of Political Modernism: Sweet Movie
   Summary

20 “THE DEATH OF THE AUTEUR”
   The Last of Modernism: Mirror
   Mirror and Serial Structure
   The Disappearance of Nothingness

Appendix: A Chronology of Modern Film

Bibliography
Index
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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