Doxa : silent cinema was symbolic art

July 19, 2009 § Leave a comment

Is this a traditional French view ? Alain Masson’s L’Image et la parole (note the capital I to Image) is built on the premisse that silent cinema had become largely a symbolist affair by the end of the 1920s, and sound cinema was to easily overthrow this by the immediacy, the concrete and easy realism of its sound environment. This view was also taken up by Edgar Morin back in the 1950s and 1960s, with his sociological studies of cinema’s imaginary workings. And it seems to have been Sadoul’s opinion too:

Sadoul “mettait en cause l’extrême raffinement des derniers films muets”
(Masson p. 15)

This may have been standard doctrine under Lea Jacob’s contrarian study, The End of Sentiment. This is a particularly clear expression of that view, from Edgar Morin’s 1957 Les stars (p. 22 in the 1972 re-edition).

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