Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology

Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology

Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology

Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures: A Critical Anthology


Film Manifestoes and Global Cinema Cultures is the first book to collect manifestoes from the global history of cinema, providing the first historical and theoretical account of the role played by film manifestos in filmmaking and film culture. Focussing equally on political and aesthetic manifestoes, Scott MacKenzie uncovers a neglected, yet nevertheless central history of the cinema, exploring a series of documents that postulate ways in which to re-imagine the cinema and, in the process, re-imagine the world.

This volume collects the major European "waves" and figures (Eisenstein, Truffaut, Bergman, Free Cinema, Oberhausen, Dogme '95); Latin American Third Cinemas (Birri, Sanjinés, Espinosa, Solanas); radical art and the avant-garde (Buñuel, Brakhage, Deren, Mekas, Ono, Sanborn); and world cinemas (Iimura, Makhmalbaf, Sembene, Sen). It also contains previously untranslated manifestos co-written by figures including Bollaén, Debord, Hermosillo, Isou, Kieslowski, Painlevé, Straub, and many others. Thematic sections address documentary cinema, aesthetics, feminist and queer film cultures, pornography, film archives, Hollywood, and film and digital media. Also included are texts traditionally left out of the film manifestos canon, such as the Motion Picture Production Code and Pius XI's Vigilanti Cura, which nevertheless played a central role in film culture.


The cinema is an invention without a future.


To forge oneself iron laws, if only in order to obey
or disobey them with difficulty



Manifestos are typically understood as ruptures, breaks, and challenges to the steady flow of politics, aesthetics, or history. This is equally true of film and other moving image manifestos. Paradoxically, film manifestos pervade the history of cinema yet exist at the margins of almost all accounts of film history itself. An examination of this elision raises not simply the question of whether manifestos have changed the cinema (even if their existence has often been marginalized in film history) but whether the act of calling into being a new form of cinema changed not only moving images but the world itself. For this proposition to make any sense at all, one cannot take moving images to be separate from the world or to be simply a mirror or reflection of the real. Instead, one must see moving images as a constitutive part of the real: as images change, so does the rest of the world. By way of introduction to Film Manifestos and Global Cinema Cultures, I examine what exactly a manifesto is, consider the role played by manifestos in film culture, offer an overview of some of the film manifestos and manifesto movements covered in the book, and map out a critical model of what constitutes a film manifesto and a manifestostyle of writing. My aim is to outline a theoretically informed counterhistory that places film manifestos, often neglected, at the center of film history, politics, and culture.

Film manifestos are a missing link in our knowledge of the history of cinema production, exhibition, and distribution. Often considered a subset of aesthetics or mere political propaganda, film manifestos are better understood as a creative and political engine, an often unacknowledged force pushing forward film theory, criticism, and history. Examining these writings as a distinct category—constituting calls to action for political and aesthetic changes in the cinema and, equally important, the cinema’s role in the world—allows one not only to better understand their use-value but also the way in which . . .

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