Film, like any other artistic medium, is both a self-contained practice and a versatile and effective method of communicating to the world around you. It is a sort of mirror held up to the culture that produces it. Just as the New Wave reflected the rapidly-changing political and sexual mores of France in the 1960s, and the American independent movement of the 1980s was largely a rebuke to the glut of soulless blockbusters that were infiltrating multiplexes at the time, so too have movements throughout history provided a sort of living, breathing reflection of societies in transition. Politics, on both a large and a small scale, dictates our routines on a day-by-day basis, so it is natural to assume that the world of cinema is an expression of similar concerns. For those of you looking to dig into the proverbial crates for a little bit, a new video list courtesy of Cinefix has just landed online that takes a look at the top ten cultural movements in the history of film.
The list runs the gamut of genres, nations and various eras: everything gets covered here, from the watershed gems of the Italian neo-realist age to the shattering sense of docu-realism at the heart of the cinema verite movement of the 1960s. I’m not so sure I would have ranked the films of the so-called Scandinavian Revival at number nine on any list, but hey, that’s coming from a committed Ingmar Bergman obsessive (also, always nice to see the iconic “Death on the Beach” scene from his “The Seventh Seal”). As a look back at the ripples of social change that have spawned movements in the film world across geographical boundaries, this is stuff worth diving into. It’s a useful reminder in today’s increasingly youth-obsessed culture to honor the progenitors/what came before, and to always put it in the proper historical context.
Check out the whole list below: