Film Theory: Film Movement–Tudor

Film Movement

Tudor, 169

The limitation to specific society reflects commercial structures and difficulties of communication–as well as peculiarities of historical context.

But film movements can transcend national boundaries.

Prior development of socio-cultural trauma is an important formative influence but not characteristic of movement as such.

The British New Wave has many marks of a movement, but was heavily preceded by social disorder (like the 3 cases)

Major disruptions call forth an aesthetic break, but are not sufficient and may not be necessary.

Whatever the causation and context, film movement suggests innovation.

Movement involves a distinct grouping of films which share in the break (Huaco?s stylisitcally homogeneous clusters.) A movement then is first of all a distinct cluster of films representing a break with the films of the past.

Wiene?s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.

Eisenstein?s Strike                                         Mark the point of disjuncture

Rossellini?s Open City


But it is a matter of degree?

Closer examination reveals that they represent continuities as well as departures.

Even the most drastic revolution is forced to retain some of the past

The German style showed little moral discontinuity.

Neither the Italian nor the Soviet were absolute breaks with the past

There are shifts in emphasis, clusters, reversions, and booms.


In discussing the French nouvelle vague as movement, Terry Lovell clarifies the concept:

Movement is an intentional concept, implying collective actions towards some conscious goal. A.F.C. Wallace?s definition of revitalization movement is pertinent: ?a deliberate and self-conscious attempt to provide a more satisfying culture.??

Movement–those aesthetic breaks consequent upon collective and self-conscious actions of the artists involved.

There are 2 rough forms of change in the cinema.

  1. Developments which, topsy-like, just glow: evolution, the normal state of affairs

The combination of commercial and social pressures, beliefs and personal inclinations comes a process of amendment, re-emphasis, and alteration.

The potential permutations are enormous.


  1. The other extreme, where common consciousness and unity of intent make analysis simpler.

The better defined the movement, the less problematic it is to study.

Many cases are mixtures of the two extremes.

Some genres involve in their early days indiscriminately, depending on feedback and commercial success, but then collective genre-consciousness also influences change.

The rise of the psychological Western is such a mixed case.

There is a clear gap between such mixed processes and the extreme?

The combination of radical aesthetic break and intentionality.

Tudor, 168

Unlike the application of movements in other arts, the term film movement is limited to specific societies.

(Unlike impressionism in painting)

The 3 societies had all experienced drastic socio-cultural traumas. Immediately prior to the rise of the movement all were involved in major wars. Two were defeated, one revolution.


  1. They all developed distinctly new approaches to cinema.


  1. The represent some kind of aesthetic break (analogy to Kuhn?s concept of revolution in scientific paradigms.)


Collective Goals

For the most part, the artists of these 3 movements did share common goals.


  1. The Soviet post-revolutionary filmmakers saw themselves building a new cinema in the spirit of the revolution.


  1. The neo-realists shared a strong political bond of anti-Nazism (many of them were Marxists) as well as their role (conscious) of creating a socially responsive and responsible cinema.


*The French nouvelle vague had at its core the articulations of the Cahiers du Cinema group. They were aware of the disjunction between their desired cinema and the past.



Seeing it as a movement-conceptualization from Neil Smelser’s approach to collective movements.

He classifies the essential determinant of collective behavior as:

  1. Structural conduciveness-structural strain:
  2. Generalized belief:
  3. Precipitating factors; mobilization
  4. Social controls.


The structural context: there must be some socio-cultural roots for the development (Smelser’s strain).

The group’s common antipathies and aims.

There must be some final precipitating event and some basis and pattern of mobilization for action.

The potential retraining factors of the larger social structure.


The ways in which society affects the cinema

The interrelations between culture, social structure, institution, and society.

In a movement, there is a distinct sub-culture. Its members are conscious of their positions and goals.  They represent more or less radical breaks with the past.