The term, “avant-garde” refers to an relatively easily defined films. Yet one of the ideas behind it is that these films are always stretching the norms and boundaries. Do you think that there is an inherent contradiction between these two ideas? In addition, what do you make of Peter Wollen’s effort to split the avant-garde into two categories and what can one then derive from this regarding the film theory’s view of avant-garde. Finally, what is the reasoning behind the continued use of the heading, “avant-garde” as it is a term that has thus far spanned 80 years, had some many different influences, is it far to the original “avant-garde” to still use their name today.
According to the Murray Smith article, words like ‘reactive’ and ‘critical’ were used by David James to describe the avant-garde. James also cited the avant-garde as continually challenging and undermining the norms of orthodox practice and attempting to deface the values of mainstream society. So if we assume that the classic Hollywood cinema is the first cinema and the avant-garde works as the second cinema, what relation does the third cinema have in relation to these other two ideas? Please attempt to frame your answer in terms of Apparatuses 1 and 2. Also, please feel free to comment on the original view point of James regarding the avant-garde.
Penley and Bergstrom’s article surrounds the concept of viewing the avant-garde cinema as an attempt of exploring the consciousness. Please explore this relationship on a deeper level, specifically in relation to the views we viewed last week but feel free to mention any that we have seen all semester. In addition, are there elements of those films that are unattractive and that bring back memories of Wollen’s virtues of counter-cinema? Finally, how does the ‘ethnographic impulse’ as described by Catherine Russel change the way we understand films especially in the relation to the ‘exploration of the consciousness’ model?