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Flashcards in Radical Film Deck (24):

Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni

every film is political, inasmuch as it is determined by the ideology which produces it (or within which it is produced, which stems from the same thing) (pg. 814)



“internalized image of one’s place within all of the social dynamics related to power and ideology” (287).
•dictates goals, values, beliefs



manifests itself or operates by way of those prevailing “truths” in our lives that seem natural and commonsensical, but are, in fact, conventional and socially determined + human made



•Embedded in society
•Internalize ideas, but it’s not universally true
•We can seek alternatives
•Idea can seem natural, but it is an example of dominant ideology
•Ensures persistence of social structures, existing hierarchy + social order


Louis Althusser

French Marxist philosopher
ideological state apparatuses + interpellation


Cahiers du cinema

influenced by Louis’ ideas
•influenced Jean Luc Godard + Gorin
•capitalists serve interests of those who control means of production at expense of producers
•why does the working class continue to participate in capitalist system when it doesn’t benefit
•system secured through political + ideological realm


Cahiers du cinema

•“repressive state apparatuses”: official state run, state sponsored – police, military
othreat of punishment for those who reject prevailing
•ideological state apparatuses: private institutions - schools, family, church, media – work by coercion + suggestion, subtle, more powerful, capable of influencing hearts + mind rather than just bodies, allows internalization


Cahiers du cinema

•in a class society ideology is the relay, whereby + element in which the relation betw men + their conditions of existence is settled to the profit of the ruling class
•cinema is an apparatus for dominant ideology
•serves interest of dominant class by assisting maintenance of status quo


Cahiers du cinema

•“clearly the cinema reproduces reality: this is what camera + film stock are for - says ideology. but tools + techniques of filmmaking part of reality themselves, reality is nothing but an expression of prevailing ideology. camera registers is vague, unformulated, untheorized, unthought out world of the dominant ideology” (814-815)


Comolli and Narboni: reality

actually an expression of prevailing ideology and that when a filmmaker captures the “real,” s/he is actually producing the world dominant ideology has produced
•“Internalized image of one’s place within all of social dynamics related to power + hierarchy”



process by which we become subjects in ideology
•interpolation (insertion) + appellation (name)
•process by which we are named, given an identity + integreted into a social system
•we get hailed (addressed) over + over again: ads
•in cinema: in relation to a character, we recognize a version of ourself in the socially constructed unreal reality in the film, we become interpellated


dominant ideology

conventional in both content and form (the vast majority of films produced and put in circulation) replicate the ideology that produces them.
•Films that attempt to replicate reality via verisimilitude which serves as mouthpiece of dominant ideology
•dominant films: Vast majority of film, imbued through + through with dominant ideology


resistant film

•Formally resistant films: not political explicitly, but subversive at level of form, refuse filmic conventions
•Content-oriented political films: explicitly political + critical of dominant ideology, but employ conventional film language
concerned more with institutions, not characters


resistant film

•Fissure films: appear to be dominant, but something defamiliarize dominant ideology
•Live cinema I: documentary conventional in form
•Live cinema II: social reality but unconventional in form


Radical film

most effective at resistance Comolli + Narboni B: “films that attack ideological assimilation on two fronts: fronts of form + content.
•Counter to dominant film
•Break with conventional form: motivated by desire to subvert political agenda
draws attention to reality that is also contrived + artificial


Bertold Brecht

is famous for so as to encourage intellectual (rather than emotional) engagement on the part of the spectator
•Marxist, member of communist party


Alienation effects/distantiation devices

felt distanced from spectacle, we were capable of thinking critically, analyzing


Epic theatre

make them think rather than feel
•Produced theatre that predicated on thinking
•Plays constantly drew attention to artificiality
•Terrible acting, empty stage
•Viewer could not mistake what they were watching for reality, always knew it was fake, instead thinks about what they are watching



•“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles” –Karl Marx + Friedrich Engel’s: The Communist Manifesto
•bourgeoisie: own means of productions, have upper hand
•proletariat: use means to create consumer good
•predicted that when proletariat united, capitalism would fall + communism would emerge



•utopian communism – ideal, replace capitalism, coummunal assets, level diff., rid of inequality
•capitalism: use most evocative language to hammer, capitalism exploits majority all for profits in the Free Trade


alienation of the worker

assembly line production, alienation to fruits of labour, don’t understand what they are doing, only doing 1 small part, no sense of what they are making, delimited labour lost big picture, not making enough money to buy product they are making



•“removed personal worth into exchange value” – Karl Marx
•at core of film studies: persuasive + useful critical tradition, can’t talk about film without talking about economics (lots of money to make films, huge industry reaping tremendous profits)
•May 1968: strikes, student rebellion, served to radicalize large # of ppl


Cahiers du cinema: filmmakers + critics

how can they critique capitalist system that needs to be in place for them to have an audience for their work + one they are a part of
film criticism considering director as most important aspect of film, created new manifesto


Comolli and Narboni

oppose dominant ideology with transgressive techniques