Cinema and Ideology
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Division: The New School for Public Engagement
School: School of Media Studies
Course Number: NFLM 3433
Course Format: Lecture
Permission Required: No
From Eisenstein and Buñuel to Godard and Pasolini, ideology has defined both the content and the language of cinema. Film, more than any other medium, blurs and almost erases the line between ideological and aesthetic elements. The visual power of cinema and its mass character made it a perfect instrument of propaganda, capable of imposing on the viewer either a particular ideological framework (as in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany) or an ideological void (Hollywood and commercial culture). We examine the relationship between cinema and political thought in the 20th century--a relationship full of contradictions. We discuss the ideological basis of major cinematic movements from the 1920s through the 1980s, including Dada and surrealism, French New Wave, and Italian neorealism, as well as ideological dimensions in the work of great filmmakers like Orson Welles, Jean-Luc Godard, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Stanley Kubrick.