“Silent cinema conveys meanings without language, sure, but personally I feel they usually aren’t layered in the images and so full of detail the way Kubrick does it.”
I believe you have a date with Eisenstein, Gance, Gosho, Sjostrom, Bauer, and Medvedkin, my friend.
Ha! Fair enough, though I’ve seen Potemkin and Strike, and both are on my all time 100 favourite films list in my profile. Thanks for the other suggestions, I’m always looking to add to my list of filmmakers to discover.
What the fuck is pure cinema?
At the end of the day, “pure cinema” is only worth thinking about in the context of what you can still do with the medium. I personally like the idea of avoiding mood music and dramatic performances and focusing on the strengths of guys like Chris Marker and Robert Bresson and even Godard in his later stuff.
Not to copy them, but to take their lead of what film as a medium can do.
One of my favorite parts of that film is when the narrator (saying Chris Marker’s words) is explaining a movie that is never going to be made. When she says “I even have a title…the same name of those Moussorgsky song cycles: Sunless” I just get a huge lump in my throat. Something about the human spirit slyly bursts through in this moment: you are watching a film that was never meant to be born, yet by some miracle, it exists. It’s such a small implication but it really hits me so unbelievably hard that I don’t think I can fully translate how deeply I can relate to what is (not) being said here.
The soundscape, the words being said, the editing and the image on the screen are all so insanely evocative. It reminds me of the final segment of Kiarostami’s “Close-Up”. The sound cutting out makes the entire scene so sublime and so emotional and I really can’t tell you why…the struggle with filmmaking and technology, that feeling that the filmmakers want you to experience this dialogue, but the damned microphone is cutting out. But they film it anyway. There again is something so triumphant in that scene, and staged or not, it’s still a genius scene.
Those are the things I want to bring out in my own work, unconsciously. And I think moving away from standard dramaturgy and actors’ performances will help bring these things out in anyone’s work.