European art cinema
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
European art cinema is a branch of cinema that was popular in the 1960s. The formal system that this cinema uses is based on the classical Hollywood cinema; particular a rejection of all tenants and rules of classical Hollywood cinema.
Differences from classical
The continuity editing system is not necessarily abandoned but instead is not needed. The cause and effect driven narrative, as well as the goal-oriented protagonist is also not needed. Instead, we may have the protagonist wander around aimlessly for the whole movie, with nothing of real importance happening to drive him from one activity to the other.
We have for Hollywood, a narrative transitivity, which is "a sequence of events in which each unit follows the one preceding it according to a chain of causation; this chain is usually psychological". The 'tale over teller' mantra of the classical Hollywood cinema is closely linked to the editing form that classical Hollywood cinema takes, and the rules they impose. For example, the 180 degree rule is followed since crossing the 180 degree line will cause a disturbance or a jarring effect on the viewer, thus calling attention away from story and to the teller. Jump cuts are avoided, since they can cause an ellipsis of the spatial or temporal kind. It is the job of classical Hollywood cinema to get the audience lost and absorbed into the story of the film; that is for the film to be pleasurable. Contrast this to European cinema whose task it is to be ambiguous, utilizing an open-ended (and sometimes intertextual) plot, causing the audience to ask questions themselves whilst introducing an element of subjectivity.
Another reason they differ in terms of ‘realism’ is because in Hollywood classical we have characters in full make up all the time, even when just coming out of bed. Art cinema strives for a representation of the 'truth' and may not have characters in costume or make up.
- Peter Wollen: Godard and Counter-Cinema: Vent d’est, 80. Semiotic Counter-Strategies: Readings and Writings London: Verso by Wollen