Avant Garde / Surrealism

Avant Garde:

  • Within the first ten years of film camera, a variety of new-aged conventions had emerged. This includes specialised journalists and newspaper columns being entirely devoted to cinema, as well as film theory, critical discourse, and discursive practices. 
  • Cinema was aimed for a mass audience rather than the aristocracy. 
  • Audiences soon became responsive to character stereotypes, narrative and plot of appraised genres. 
  • Cinema was not just used to entertain, but eventually was utilized to document and inform, otherwise known as ‘moral or social persuasion’. 
  • Many artists turned to the film phenomenon as they desired to put their ‘art in motion’. 


  • Surrealist film had narrative structure, familiar character-types, a sense of diegetic time and space. In summary they basically shared many of the features evidently used in popular films during the period. 
  • Surrealist manifesto, Andre Breton labelled the Surrealists, as being ‘modest recording instruments’, who offered ‘free functioning thought’ completely absent from any control exercised by reason. 
  • The content of Surrealism was closely relatable to the notion of dreams in which they did not necessarily consist of reason, and were not bounded to the features of mainstream cinema such as a comprehensible narrative with a plot and likable characters. 
  • In that sense, Surrealism was more imaginative than other popular films at the time. 

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