In the 1920s, after Germany's downfall in the First World War, a new cinematic style of reflexing reality is formed (before that - in painting, literature, theatre), namely expressionism. It's a natural consequence of a drastically changing socio-historical situation. Deformed scenery, prolonged shadows, dark figures, lurking actors. With its exclusive style expressionist cinema is born out of a necessity and solid purpose - to criticise the political moment and protest against the horror of war and its consequences. It's a predominantly social tendency - emerged from its conscious and developed by the faith in its better future.
In the 1940s, after the Axis Powers' downfall in the Second World War, a new cinematic style emerges in response to the events that shaked Italy: war, fascism, the struggle towards a democratic society. Thus neo-realism is born in Italy. Again socially orientated, it supports a political view - that of the anti-fascist opposition, this time directly mirroring reality to evoke admiration for the struggling man, "the little man", the man of the people.
In the 1950s, during a hard crisis in the French cinema, an enthusiastic group of film critics and directors agitates towards sculpting cinema as art and rejecting the current trade film. It carries a stylistic message - to reshape cinema until it becomes "as flexible, as sophisticated as the written language". It is born out of an aesthetic stagnation and its main purpose is its elimination.
Every new wave is provoked by an event (be it social, political, aesthetic, etc.) that defines its purpose. And that purpose is justified and approached with the help of a certain correspondent style. Harry spotted the signals of the CC style, its aesthetics. Consequently, these signals became a set of "minimal profile", a solid base. But still, can we say what is the purpose?
Judging from all the discussions, I'd assume CC doesn't astonish with plot, nor with acting. It doesn't concern or criticise social policies, it's not politically engaged. It's narrative structures range in minimum scale. It reacts by visual language. It provokes the viewing experience. It chalanges the audience to indulge in a new way of understanding cinema, of looking it.
As we had the chance to observe, many films fall into the CC style category, but most of them seem to differ somehow - how? I guess, they don't share the same purpose - rendering the way we experience cinema, our attitude. Most of the films that seem to be out of place have a different primal goal, which can be found in their use of narrativity or the visual language, or music. So could we say that CC's purpose is aesthetic, or rather aesthetically social since it is aimed directly towards the audience?
During the 80s, 90s and 00s, the blockbuster gains force. It floods the whole world and results in a situation similar to that prior to the New Wave. Around the same time, though, another style can be spotted in Asia - a minimalistic in every sense aesthetic with a sometimes vague goal. What do you think of CC's purpose? If we find it out, probably we could differentiate contemplative films better.
Note: During the 80s and 90s, the so called Asian Horror emerges, too. Could it be accepted as a contrary reaction to CC? Or are they a reaction to the same "event" but in two radical ways?