"Why is Falkner read and appreciated, even if in very limited editions? I thought. ‘I’ll make a film that’s not all that pleasant to watch but that people will think about later" — it’s very concrete. And that’s actually what happened. It wasn’t popular, but it had an effect on people they talked about it for a long time afterward."

Observations On Film Art: Too Few Things Happen?

by Kristin Thompson & David Bordwell

In most films, Agnes Varda said, “I find that too many things happen.” How can screenplay studies move beyond Hollywood’s jammed dramaturgy to consider the more spacious sort of storytelling we find in “art cinema”?

Colin Burnett offered a general overview of art-cinema norms that is somewhat parallel to our and Janet Staiger’s The Classical Hollywood Cinema. To a great extent, of course, “art films” differ from classically constructed films. They can be more ambiguous, more reflexive, more stylized and at the same time more naturalistic. They often replace a tight causal chain with episodic construction and nuances of characterization. The protagonists may have complex mental states; they may have inconsistent goals, or no goals at all; they may be passive; they may have shifting identities.

Yet Colin argued against claims that art films lack narrative altogether. “Art films offer reduced scene dramaturgy, rarely its complete absence.” They possess structuring devices comparable to Hollywood acts. A film’s large-scale parts may be based on a character’s development, on changes in space or time, or on variations of action and/or reaction. A question was raised as to whether such a broad category as art cinema could be characterized in such ways. Given the enormous range of types of films made in the Hollywood tradition, however, it seems possible that the art cinema could be described in a similar fashion.

A great many art-film strategies can be seen as stemming from modernism in literature and the other arts. As if offering a case study illustrating Colin’s argument, Kelley Conway focused on La Pointe Courte. Varda’s first film is now coming to be considered the earliest New Wave feature.

But Varda wasn’t the prototypical New Waver. She wasn’t a man, she wasn’t a cinephile, and she took her inspiration from high art, not popular culture. A professional photographer who loved painting and literature, she brought to this film (made at age 26) a bold awareness of twentieth-century modernism. The result was a striking juxtaposition of stylization and realism, personal drama and community routine. In La Pointe Courte, we might say, neorealism meets the second half of Hiroshima mon amour.

Inspired by Faulkner’s Wild Palms, Varda braided together two stories. While families in a fishing village live their everyday lives, an educated couple work through their marriage problems in a long walk. Remarkably, Varda had not seen Rossellini’s Voyage to Italy. After supplying background on the production process, Kelley focused on matters of performance. She explained how Varda, well aware of Brechtian “distanciation,”  made  the couple’s dialogue deliberately flat. By contrast, the villagers’ lines, through scripted, were treated more naturalistically.

La Pointe Courte emerges as an anomie-drenched demonstration of how little you need to make an engrossing movie.

Each day until Christmas there will be a review of a film from around the world and a global inspired popcorn recipe on Celluloid And Leftovers.Happy December!
Today’s Film: The Big Picture - FranceToday’s Food: Blue Cheese and Toasted Almond Popcorn
MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Each day until Christmas there will be a review of a film from around the world and a global inspired popcorn recipe on Celluloid And Leftovers.
Happy December!

Today’s Film: The Big Picture - France
Today’s Food: Blue Cheese and Toasted Almond Popcorn

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Each day until Christmas there will be a review of a film from around the world and a global inspired popcorn recipe on Celluloid And Leftovers.Happy December!
Today’s Film: The Women on the 6th Floor - France Today’s Food: Macaron Popcorn

Each day until Christmas there will be a review of a film from around the world and a global inspired popcorn recipe on Celluloid And Leftovers.
Happy December!

Today’s Film: The Women on the 6th Floor - France
Today’s Food: Macaron Popcorn