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Monday, November 05, 2007

Nineteenth century melodrama

Peter Kubelka (austrian Avant Garde), in an interview at Film-makers' Coop :

"I discovered that commercial cinema did not use the possibilities which are in this medium. The commercial film industry use film like a secondary art, a reproduction of theatre, novels, melodramas. You have people who act as if they are somebody else, called actors. And then you have somebody who has written their words for them, they do this and it's recorded. Then somebody plays some music with it in order to create emotions with the people who sees. That's XIXth century melodrama, and it has not changed up to now. And the story are always the same : boy meets girls, difficulties, happy end. Which is fantastic. It shows that commercial cinema is something else. It has taken the place of the church in a way. It gives you recipes how to live, do you choose this way or that way, which is all shown to you on the screen."

Kubelka is opposing Avant Garde films to Narrative Cinema, of course. But I think it works for Contemplative Cinema too, without going all the way into abstraction. CC breaks off from that XIXth century Theatre tradition to make purely visual (narrative) films without the usual tricks of narrative drive and explanatory walk-through.
Kubelka's comment couldn't apply to CC, because CC doesn't rely on melo tricks. In this respect, both AG and CC fight the same outdated formula which doesn't suit the art of cinema. Cinema requires its own visual language, be it structuralist, abstract, formalist, poetical or contemplative.

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