Essay: Art Film and Its Influences on Other Films

Pages: 3 (800 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Film  ·  Buy This Paper

Art Cinema-400 Blows and Loves of a Blonde

In "The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice," David Bordwell provides several characteristics of art films that are shared by directors across international cinema. Bordwell's shared characteristics aim to break away from traditional or classical cinema narratives and be reflective of the anxieties and social commentaries of post-World War II Europe. Francois Truffaut's 1959 film the 400 Blows and Milos Forman's 1965 film Loves of a Blonde share similar art cinema characteristics that help to demonstrate shared experiences and reactions.

One of Bordwell's central arguments regarding art cinema is that it aims to break away from the classical narrative, specifically the cause-and-effect structure of classic Hollywood cinema (717). Art cinema does not focus on events and how they influence characters and the narrative, but rather, art cinema shifts its focus to psychologically complex and imperfect characters that often lack "defined desires and goals" (718). These character uncertainties are reflected in Truffaut's the 400 Blows protagonist Antoine. In the film, Antoine rebels against a variety of institutions: his school, his parents, and the military/boys home he is sent to.

Antoine is the embodiment of the psychologically complex characters Bordwell describes in his essay. Bordwell argues, "Characters may act for inconsistent reasons…or may question themselves about their goals" (Bordwell 718). Bordwell also claims, "art cinema is less concerned with action than reaction; it is a cinema of psychological effects in search of their causes" (Bordwell 718). Antoine's psychological constructs are further shaped by how others view him in addition to how he views himself. In an interview with a psychiatrist, Antoine contends that he is not always lying, as his parents claim, and states, "Oh, I like now and then, I suppose. Sometimes I'd tell them the truth and they still wouldn't believe me, so I prefer to lie" (the 400 Blows).

Bordwell maintains realism is a major component of art cinema. Art cinema "will show us real locations…and real problems" (Bordwell 718). One way in which Truffaut maintains realism is by showing the city as it is. He does not rely on constructed scenery, but rather uses real locations. Eventually, the confusion of the city parallels Antoine's erratic behavior with him appearing to be more at peace and free when he is removed from it and sent to the boys home near the sea (400 Blows). The film also adds realism… [END OF PREVIEW]

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