Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980 (Cinema and Modernity)

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9780226451633: Screening Modernism: European Art Cinema, 1950-1980 (Cinema and Modernity)

Casting fresh light on the renowned productions of auteurs like Antonioni, Fellini, and Bresson and drawing out from the shadows a range of important but lesser-known works, Screening Modernism is the first comprehensive study of European art cinema’s postwar heyday.

Spanning from the 1950s to the 1970s, András Bálint Kovács’s encyclopedic work argues that cinematic modernism was not a unified movement with a handful of styles and themes but rather a stunning range of variations on the core principles of modern art. Illustrating how the concepts of modernism and the avant-garde variously manifest themselves in film, Kovács begins by tracing the emergence of art cinema as a historical category. He then explains the main formal characteristics of modern styles and forms as well as their intellectual foundation. Finally, drawing on modernist theory and philosophy along the way, he provides an innovative history of the evolution of modern European art cinema.

Exploring not only modernism’s origins but also its stylistic, thematic, and cultural avatars, Screening Modernism ultimately lays out creative new ways to think about the historical periods that comprise this golden age of film.

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About the Author:

András Bálint Kovács is associate professor in the Institute for Art Theory and Media Research at ELTE University in Budapest.

Review:

Few scholars have thought so carefully about what constitutes the modern cinema as András Bálint Kovács. Screening Modernism is at once a nuanced synthesis of philosophical ideas and an original, comprehensive mapping of postwar artistic tendencies. Through sensitive analyses of Bergman, Antonioni, Godard, Bresson, Resnais, and other world-class directors, Kovács forcefully shows their rich legacy and suggests its continuing relevance for us. Everyone interested in the expressive resources of cinema, past and present, will want to read this book.”

(David Bordwell, University of Wisconsin–Madison)

“András Bálint Kovács has written a monumental work. Impressive in its scope, erudition, originality, critical acumen, and philosophical sophistication, Screening Modernism is a landmark historical study of modernist cinema that makes a permanent contribution to the field.”

(William Rothman, University of Miami)

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