Film Movements: Theory and Practice (Bordwell and Thompson)

Research in Progress (April 13, 2021)

Bordwell and Thompson

Film movements consist of films that are produced within a particular period and/or nation and share significant traits of style and form.

Filmmakers who operate within a common production structure and share certain assumptions about filmmaking, such as formal and stylistic systems.

Film movement consists not only of films but also the activities of specific filmmakers

Beyond noting stylistic and formal qualities.

For each period and nation, there’s a portrait of relevant factors that impinge on the cinema.

These factors help explain:

*How a particular movement began?

*What shaped its development?

*What affected its decline?


  1. State of the film industry
  2. Artistic theories held by filmmakers.
  3. Notion of reality and realism
  4. Pertinent technology features.
  5. Elements of the socioeconomic context of the period.


Film Movements

Early Cinema, 1893-1903

Silent Hollywood Cinema, 1908-1927

German Expressionism, 1919-1924

French Impressionism and Surrealism, 1918-1930

Soviet Montage, 1924-1930

Classic Hollywood Cinema, 1927-1959

French populist cinema of the 1930s.

Japanese Cinema, 1930s

Italian Neorealism, 1942-1951

French New Wave, 1959-1964

New German Cinema, 1966-1982


Aesthetic Film Movements

Film movements as artistic and socio-historical phenomena; the politics of film movements; comparison of five major film movements; the Russian Expressive Realism of the 1920’s the German Expressionism of the 1920s, the Italian Neo-Realism of the 1940’s, the French New Wave of the 1950s; and the Brazilian Cinema Novo of the 1960s.