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Film Studies For Dummies by James Cateridge

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Chapter 7

Leading from the Front: Avant-Garde Film

In This Chapter

arrow Discovering how to watch avant-garde films

arrow Analysing the avant-garde’s preoccupations

arrow Falling into a trance with dream-like cinema

What colour is grass? The sky? Green and blue, right? Everyone knows that. But go outside and sit on a lawn or a patch of parkland and have a proper long look at the grass. Is it really just green – that vivid crayon green that you used to colour it in as a kid? Or is it a whole range of colours from grey to brown to yellow? While you’re there, lie on your back for five minutes and stare at the sky. Not just blue, is it? You see whites and greys and sometimes oranges and greens. Stare at the sky for long enough and you may also see those weird floaty things that are part of your eyeballs.

remember.eps My point here, borrowed from American avant-garde film-maker Stan Brakhage, is that the way you talk about vision is quite different from what you actually see. The situation is the same with film. Film students and fans talk about character, narrative, theme and genre, when what they really see and ...

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