“The Death of the Auteur”
It is not easy to make a distinction in the 1970s between films belonging to political modernism's mythical trend and those already transcending the modernist paradigm. In this respect, there is a smooth transition, an organic continuity between modern and postmodern. It is easier to see the difference between the two categories through films that are distant in time enough from one another, but political modernism in the mid-1970s was just the transitional period where many elements of the postmodern were already present. This is true especially in some films of new German cinema. Early Fassbinder films (Gods of Plague, Whity, Angst Eats the Soul), for example, emphasized artificiality and pastiche typical of postmodernism, which recurred forcefully only in his last film Querelle (1982). Herzog's Heart of Glass stands right between the two categories. On the one hand it is a highly unnatural-looking, stylized film with an obscure mythical narrative that takes place for the most part in shady rooms; on the other hand it continuously refers to the greatness of nature as the main source of human mythology and imagination, which by its fundamentally romantic conception somewhat keeps it within the confines of modernism.
If we still wanted to make some distinctions we can resort to two basic principles of modernism. One is homogeneity of style; the other is a fundamentally ontological approach to reality, in other words, a sense of “objective reality.” Both are closely related with the central role attributed to the “auteur.”
As to the homogeneity of style, modern cinema had two fundamental ways to carry this out. One was some kind of minimalism, whereby homogeneity was the result of a reduced number of basic stylistic elements. This