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The Altering Eye

The Altering Eye: Contemporary International Cinema

Robert Phillip Kolker
Copyright Date: 2009
Published by: Open Book Publishers
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    The Altering Eye
    Book Description:

    The Altering Eye covers a "golden age” of international cinema from the end of WWII through to the New German Cinema of the 1970s. Combining historical, political, and textual analysis, Kolker develops a pattern of cinematic invention and experimentation from neorealism through the modernist interventions of Jean-Luc Godard and Rainer Maria Fassbinder, focusing along the way on such major figures as Luis Buñuel, Joseph Losey, the Brazilian director Glauber Rocha, and the work of major Cuban filmmakers. Kolker’s book has become a much quoted classic in the field of film studies providing essential reading for anybody interested in understanding the history of European and international cinema. This new and revised edition includes a substantive new Preface by the author and an updated Bibliography.

    eISBN: 978-1-906924-05-8
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Preface to the New Edition
    (pp. ix-xvi)
  2. Preface to the 1983 Edition
    (pp. xvii-xx)
  3. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    At the beginning of Jean-Luc Godard and Jean-Pierre Gorin’sTout va bien(1972), a voice announces: “I want to make a film.” Another voice responds: “That costs money.” And for many minutes the screen is filled with the image of a checkbook as, one after the other, checks are signed and torn off: makeup, sets, bit players, editing, electricians, sound, the communal apparatus of filmmaking enumerated by cost, deglamorized, and placed in a material context. It is a clear announcement of the state and the problem of contemporary film. Films cost money. And there is a second part to the...

  4. 1 The Validity of the Image
    (pp. 11-88)

    The word “realism” is the most problematic in any discussion of cinema. Because the first principle of filmmaking is the photographic reproduction of something that exists—a street, a room, a face—and the putting of that photograph into motion, the idea that film has a close relationship to the physically real world is inescapable. On top of this come the claims of widely different filmmakers that the narratives they construct out of these moving pictures are themselves “real,” that they mirror, “the world,” show us life, give us psychologically valid characters. But such statements are founded on unexamined assumptions....

  5. 2 The Substance of Form
    (pp. 89-196)

    The long-term result of neorealism was an explosion of form. It was as if the act of changing the subject matter of commercial cinema and altering the ways in which the audience was requested to look at the new subject released possibilities of expression dormant in cinema throughout the thirties. It is true that there had been experimentation in narrative form since the beginning of film history, and that the new energy of expression following neorealism spread and developed slowly throughout the fifties and all across Europe, climaxing in the sixties. But “explosion” is still a fair term; for within...

  6. 3 Politics, Pscychology, and Memory
    (pp. 197-286)

    Few things make an American film critic more uncomfortable than a movie with an overt political discourse. The critical commonplace is that “politics” somehow diminishes a work, narrows it, turns it into “propaganda.” “Propaganda” is limiting; it denies richness and ambiguity because it propounds (propagates) a narrow, predetermined point of view. To be “realistic” a film must be open to the fullness of experience, with characters roundly developed, given a past and a future, their behavior clearly motivated, living in a world that seems to be based on the world as we know it from everyday experience: continuous, spontaneous in...

  7. Select Bibliography on European Cinema Since 1983
    (pp. 307-314)