Film as Subversive Art
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A classic returns. The original edition of Amos Vogel's seminal book, Film as a Subversive Art was first published in 1974, and has been out of print since 1987. According to Vogel--founder of Cinema 16, North America's legendary film society--the book details the "accelerating worldwide trend toward a more liberated cinema, in which subjects and forms hitherto considered unthinkable or forbidden are boldly explored." So ahead of his time was Vogel that the ideas that he penned some 30 years ago are still relevant today, and readily accessible in this classic volume. Accompanied by over 300 rare film stills, Film as a Subversive Art analyzes how aesthetic, sexual, and ideological subversives use one of the most powerful art forms of our day to exchange or manipulate our conscious and unconscious, demystify visual taboos, destroy dated cinematic forms, and undermine existing value systems and institutions. This subversion of form, as well as of content, is placed within the context of the contemporary world view of science, philosophy, and modern art, and is illuminated by a detailed examination of over 500 films, including many banned, rarely seen, or never released works.
reality, its call for the liquidation of illusionism -- were not evident to the regime. OCTOBER (Sergei M. Eisenstein, USSR, 1927) (F) The metaphysical aestheticism of Eisenstein -rightly condemned by the Stalinists as opposed to their simplistic "socialist realism" -- seen in three mysterious, strongly Kafkaesque shots 5/19/2007 12:13 PM THE REVOLUTIONARY FIM AVANT-GARDE IN SOVIET RUSSIA 17 of 18 http://web.archive.org/web/20050215172033/www.subcin.com/russiafil... from his "official"
of gesture is not more powerful. SC ___________________________________________________________________________________________ 5/19/2007 12:21 PM THE TRIUMPH AND DEATH OF THE MOVING CAMERA 13 of 13 http://web.archive.org/web/20050215171815/www.subcin.com/moving... APOTHEOSIS (John Lennon, Great Britain, 1970) Bundled up and bisected by the frame, John and Yoko are left behind, as the camera, attached to a balloon, literally rises to the heavens. The use of real time includes a 4-minute
spaceship earthly truths no longer hold. The "positioning" of the figure is fully explicable and "scientific"; the resulting visual shock is not and opens us to a sense of cosmic conciousness. A NEW GOD ? Faced with the immensity of the cosmos and its mysteries, scientists experience a sense of awe which offers them a 5/19/2007 12:11 PM THE WORLD VIEW OF SUBVERSIVE CINEMA 7 of 25 http://web.archive.org/web/20050215171727/www.subcin.com/worldvi... dialectic synthesis between rejection of a
___________________________________________________________________________________________ 5/19/2007 12:22 PM STRAINING TOWARDS THE LIMITS 11 of 20 http://web.archive.org/web/20050215172006/www.subcin.com/straining... BELLS OF ATLANTIS (Ian Hugo, USA, 1953) A magical voyage into the subconcious in search of "the lost continent" of first human memories. Based on Anais Nin's prose poem, the film provides a visual equivalent in subaqueous, drifting imagery taken from reality but entirely
transformed the political system that promised man the widest possible freedom into the world's most efficient totalitarian regime. 5/19/2007 12:23 PM INTERNATIONAL LEFT AND REVOLUTIONARY CINEMA 5 of 10 http://web.archive.org/web/20050215172037/www.subcin.com/interleft... In the cinema as elsewhere, the state's complete control over the means of productions and of communication seems effectively to preclude opposition or dissent. Yet the spirit of freedom surreptitiously re-emerges,