THE NEW WAVE Group of French film critics watched old movies at the Cinémathèque Française during 40s and 50s. the explosion of films made by young, first-time French directors (Belton 363). Cahiers du Cinéma, a critical film journal, without formalized training or apprenticeships like their predecessors, these critics begin making their own films… New Wave Directors: Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, Eric Rohmer, Jacques Rivette, and Claude Chabrol. Began in 1958 with Chabrol s Le Beau Serge
Auteur Theory: Directors as Stars American critic Andrew Sarris brought the perspectives and criticism of the Cahiers du cinéma (Cinema Notebooks) to the U.S. – auteur theory Caused a reevaluation of American cinema by critics, students, scholars, and film buffs Not as many successful directors emerge from American efforts as did in France
Training Ground: The Rise of Film Schools Hollywood looked favorably upon film students than upon film critics as directors. They were uncritical of the industry, eager to succeed in it, and appreciative of its history. They could also be paid less than older, more experienced directors. After the collapse of the studio system, film schools functioned to provide a pool of semiskilled talent on which the industry could draw. Film gradually became a feature of a contemporary liberal arts education. In 1967, 200 schools and 1500 film courses were offered. Eleven years later, 1,000 schools and 10,000 film courses were offered. The new young audience sought films that addressed their interests. Like Coppola, Lucas, and Scorsese, they had grown up on the movies. They both appreciated the film school generation and understood many of the allusions to earlier films and filmmakers that peppered movies directed by members of the American New Wave.
The Color of Money:Young Directors and the Box Office Film industry turned to the New Film School Generation for economic reasons (i.e. to make money).Youth Films and Economics: younger audiences.The Roger Corman School Hollywood turned to the master of the exploitation film where profitable directors had gained practical experience Hollywood will adopt tactics of the exploitation market (e.g. gangster films, teen hot-rod flicks, science fiction adventures, monster pictures, and horror films).Exploitation on a Grand Scale Rather than approaching these genre films with low-budgets, Hollywood backing led to big-budget productions and added profitability Hollywood no longer used audience response-based release tactics, they increased marketing and advertising efforts (see Jaws example discussed on p. 369). Why does this new method appeal to Hollywood?
Examples… Steven Spielberg had many box office successes. E.T. , Jaws , Jurassic Park , Raiders of the Lost Ark , The Lost World: Jurassic Park , and Saving Private Ryan . Lucas s successes were Star Wars , The Empire Strikes Back , The Return of the Jedi , Star wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, Star Wars II: The Attack of the Clones, and Star Wars III. James Cameron, Titanic .
The Roger Corman School Hopper, Bogdanovich, and Coppola had all received practical experience in filmmaking by working for the master of the exploitation film. Hopper had starred in a number of Corman teen pics along with Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. Corman gave Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, John Milius, Woody Allen, and Martin Scorsese a start. Corman helped Jonathan Demme and Jonathan Kaplan make their first films. Hollywood tacitly acknowledged a significant shift in the nature of the traditional Hollywood film in looking to Corman proteges.
Exploitation on a Grand Scale. Even though many of the New Film School Generation films were low-budget subjects, Hollywood gave them the big-budget treatment. These films were often low-budget genre pictures in disguise. Starting with Jaws , the major studios adopted the distribution patterns developed in the exploitation market. That film was released in 464 theaters at the same time. Ads were on both the radio and the TV for the film, too. The industry marketed these films according to methods that had proven effective in the exploitation field. Today, the first two Harry Potter films (2001,2002) opened on more than 3600 screens, as did Spider-Man . Terminator 3: The Rise of the Machines (2003), Scorpion King (2002), and Monsters Inc. (2001) played on more tan 3400 screens.
References, Meaning, and PostmodernismThe Art of Allusion American Graffiti looked back at AIP teen pics, but also borrowed from Federico Fellini s I Vitelloni . Raiders of the Lost Ark brought afternoon serials back to life. Woody Allen acknowledged Ingmar Bergman in Interiors , Federico Fellini in Stardust Memories , Humphrey Bogart in Play it Again, Sam , the phenomenon of movie going in The Purple Rose of Cairo , and the Hollywood musical in Everyone Says I Love You . Spielberg fancied himself a new Disney. There are repeated allusions to Disney s Mary Poppins in E.T. , Close Encounters looks back to the Night on Bald Mountain sequence in Fantasia and concludes with Jiminy Cricket s rendition of When You Wish Upon a Star from Pinocchio . The Color Purple borrows visual landscape from Disney s Uncle Remus narrative, The Song of the South. Hook lays bare Spielberg s own Peter Pan complex and solidifies his identity as the child of Disney.
The Failure of the New In Dressed to Kill , De Palma alluded to high art in the form of the German Symbolist painter Max Klinger s Glove series and popular art through a reference to Hitchcock s Vertigo . American cinema of the 1970s was a postmodern phenomenon that reflected the sense of alienation and fragmentation brought about by late capitalism. In terms of stylistic practices, postmodern artist rely on pastiche , a form of imitation of the unique style or content of earlier works that lacks any trace of the satire or parody that characterizes traditional forms of imitation. Pastiche is an entirely neutral practice: it conveys no perceptible attitude towards the original. Thus, the authentic expression of ideas in the past has given way to quotation and allusion to that authentic expression.
Schizophrenia and Incoherence Jameson referred to inability to be original as failure of the new Another feature of postmodernism: nostalgia for the past. American Graffiti is a nostalgia film. Postmodern works reflect the schizophrenic breakdown of he normal experience of the world as a continuous, coherent, and meaningful phenomenon. Postmodern artists convey the incoherence that informs the social and cultural reality of contemporary experience. Terrence Malick s Badlands , an outlaw couple film based on the real- life 1950s killing spree of Charles Starkweather and his girlfriend, Carol Ann Fugate, capture this sense of incoherence.
A Postmodern Case Study: Taxi Driver A certain level of incoherence lies at the heart of Taxi Driver , embodied in its central character, Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro). His goals and desires remain unclear and confused, and so does the audience s understanding of and attitude toward the character. That incoherence carries over into the audience. The film captures the plight of the alienated individual in contemporary consumer society. Surrounded by the conflicting messages of politicians, pimps, and the media, engulfed by filth, crime, and corruption, he attempts to play the part of the old-fashioned Western hero whose decisive actions would set things right. Films such as Taxi Driver expose the contradictions that informed 1970s America, describing the conditions that produced phenomena such as Vietnam and Watergate, but refusing to understand or make sense of those conditions. One of the films repeated viewers was John Hinckley, the ultimate incoherent spectator, who fell in love with Jodie Foster and shot the politician, President Ronald Reagan, rather than the pimp, in an attempt to re-write the film and give it a better ending.
Reassurance: Comfort, Comics, and NostalgiaA Return to Innocence Raiders of the Lost Ark returned to the innocent action serials of the 1930s and 1940s and restored moral clarity to the screen; confusing morality of Vietnam and returned to clear-cut villainy of Nazis. Close Encounters of the Third Kind encouraged us to regress tot eh status of children-play with our food, indulge in whims and obsessions, and engage in a childlike state of wonder. Star Wars was set in a universe far, far away and long, long go.
Opposing Visions Scorsese – one of few to expose dilemmas of modern individual, explores the disintegration and fragmentation of any sense of coherent self. Most financially successful films of the 1970s and 80s reassured audiences, idealized the past (1930s-50s). Public disturbance in film unwelcome in the marketplace.
Examples…(p. 377) Raging Bull is, like Travis in Taxi Driver a problematically split or divided character, who talks to themselves in mirrors. In Goodfellas , Henry Hill who wants ot be somebody rather than nobody, models his identity on that of the colorful gangsters who lived and worked in his neighborhood when he was a kid. The film shows the disintegration of this fantasy when, at the end of the film, he returns to be a nobody in the witness protection program. In Kundun , the Dalai Lama is alienated and exiled, presented as a figure unable to fulfill his preordained role in life. Gangs of New York traces that identity to its contradictory origins in the struggle between different generations of immigrants, one largely Protestant and the other mostly Catholic.
THE BRAT PACK The Outsiders reflected 1950s and 1960s Introduced a new generation of actors – the brat pack- who soon out-grossed a previous earlier generation of directors known as the movie brats.
Physical Culture: Biology as Destiny, Individualist Ruler Muscle men –Stallone and Schwarzenegger. These He-Men of the Universe provided a form of bodily spectacle and visual pleasure that answered the growing obsession with technology and special effects that dominated the science-fiction film (382). Fetishization of male body, 1980s conservatism elevated biology to the status of destiny, physical strength ensures survival, not the market… Just think of all the money these legacies continue to bring to Hollywood from reissues, video games, sequels, merchandising, etc.!!
ANOTHER GENERATION New directors with distinctly different cultural experiences and filmmaking techniques; Continuity of classical Hollywood cinema falls apart in 1980s; Changes in society and marketplace: new media technology, television, economics, etc. Exploitation marketing strategies used by directors Directors were highly motivated/restricted by market demands - sought $100+ million profit, merchandisable films, tie-ins, wanted Disney theme parks named after their films