What are some great indie art films

When artists make films

Film has always been an art. This finding may not be particularly original, but it is impressively confirmed for the reader of the book "Art Cinema". After reading the book, one can actually no longer argue about cinema as an art form. Above all, the many pictures in the magnificent volume provide clear answers.

"Art Cinema" by Paul Young fills a void on the German film book market. In this detail, differentiation and opulence, what is commonly referred to as "art cinema" has not yet been dealt with in book form. But what is "art cinema" or "art cinema"?

"Art Cinema" versus mass-produced goods

Robert Wilson: "Steve Buscemi"

Young offers several definitions at the beginning of his volume. A fairly comprehensive one reads: "A film that stands out from the mass-produced commercially produced goods through certain aesthetic, ideological and often also political means - regardless of whether it can be categorized as an experimental or avant-garde film or an artist film."

Even the answer to the question of a coherent definition of art is difficult - or you just take it easy and refer to Josef Beuys: "Everything is art. Everyone is an artist." Naturally, it is therefore difficult to find out what
now constitutes the so-called art film in its essence.

Blood or ketchup? - Paul and Damon McCarthy: "Caribbean Pirates"

Paul Young solves the dilemma by offering a few more definitions. For example: "How traditional works of art are art films generally open towards the end and more likely to raise questions than to provide answers ", or else:" Der art film tends towards the non-linear, non-theatrical and non-figurative, and consequently he makes extensive use of the poetic, metaphors and allusions. "

Directors and artists in the picture

If that's not enough for you, you still have the opportunity to create your own definition - the almost 200 pages of text and photos offer plenty of illustrative material. Around 300 films and directors are mentioned, sometimes treated more or less intensively. Many of them come from the canon of film history, Luis Bunuel with his early surrealist works is of course there as well as the directors Jean Cocteau and Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard and Peter Greenaway.

Classic film experiment: work by Oswell Blakeston and Francis Bruguière

Other names will be more familiar to the art critic, Stan Douglas or Bill Viola, Anthony McCall or Pipilotti Rist. The boundaries between what is (still) shown in the cinema and what is more likely to be seen in art halls and museums are removed here. The reader can now decide for himself whether he ascribes video art or film installations, collages or so-called concept films more to art or to (avant-garde) film.

Overwhelming picture show

In the end, the definitions turn out to be irrelevant, as it depends more on the extent to which each individual viewer can relate to the "art cinema". An early film by Walther Ruttmann from 1929 about the city of Berlin will perhaps be closer to some than the cool installations by Max Dean and Kristan Horton. Others, on the other hand, may find more access to the wild and wild film experiments of the 60s and 70s, but can hardly do anything with the bloody (ketchup) orgies of Paul McCarthy.

The full range and breadth of "art cinema" is described in this book, in ten chapters, from surrealist and abstract films to forms of Dada and Camp on and with celluloid. It is overwhelming and fascinating to look at, the pictures and photographs are bursting with vitality and the artist's desire to break out of the ordinary, to abandon conventional paths and to enter new cinematic and artistic territory. A great film / art book!

Paul Young: Art Cinema, Taschen Verlag 2009, 192 pages, 29.99 euros, ISBN: 978-3-8228-3591-3.

Author: Jochen Kürten

Editor: Conny Paul