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Comunicar Journal 35: Film Languages in the European Collective Memory (Vol. 18 - 2010)

Understanding cinema: The avant-gardes and the construction of film discourse


Mirian-Estela Nogueira-Tavares


This essay highlights the role of historical avant-gardes in shaping film discourse. This role was vital for the recognition of cinema as an art form, as well as for the constitution of a visual and textual discourse that came to be reflected in the Institutional Mode of Representation – Hollywood film from the 1920s to the 1940s. To realize the importance of artistic movements in the creation of new paradigms for art at large, it is necessary to understand their principles and the context in which a new way of looking and reflecting on the world came about. The promotion of authentic and efficient film literacy requires focusing on the era in which cinema began. Only by examining the 19th century more deeply can we perceive what lies beyond that invention of the Lumière brothers. The essay shows that cinema was not only inscribed in the times from which it emerged but that it also launched a new paradigm that the arts of the 20th century were yet to discover.


Cinema, surrealism, historical avant-gardes, formalism, film literacy, technology