Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980

By AndrÁs BÁlint KovÁcs | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Theorizing Modernism

The heterogeneity of artworks and the inaccuracy of the concept
make any attempt at a theory of aesthetic modernism almost hopeless.


My primary goal in this book is to develop a notion of modern cinema in terms of stylistic history. This involves understanding modern cinema as a historically determined entity located in art-historical time and defined by a finite number of aesthetic/stylistic traits. However, I do not intend this to be a purely formalist work. I want to understand modern cinema and its various forms in its historical and philosophical contexts, which in my view are primarily responsible for the specific aesthetic forms modernism developed.

Here and in chapter 2 I will present several interconnected arguments. First, modern cinema was a historical phenomenon inspired by the arthistorical context of the two avant-garde periods, the 1920s and the 1960s. Second, modern cinema was the result of art cinema's adaptation to these contexts rather than the result of the general development of film history or the “language” of cinema. Third, as a consequence of this process of adaptation, art cinema became an institutionalized cinematic practice different from commercial entertainment cinema as well as from the cinematic avant-garde. And last, another result of this process is that modern cinema took different shapes according to the various historical situations and cultural backgrounds of modernist filmmakers.

There are three terms that need distinction and clarification at the outset: modern, modernist, and avant-garde.1 The use of these terms is so widespread

1. There is a huge literature on the history and the meaning of these terms. I list here
those that were most helpful for me in this book. Hans Robert Jauss, “La 'modernité'


Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this page

Cited page

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 428

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?