English and Film Studies

FS 412 B1: Topics in Film Studies - Art Cinema: Dreyer and Bresson

The question of what exactly an art film is and how it functions in ways radically different from mainstream cinema will be addressed in this seminar through the work of two idiosyncratic European filmmakers: Carl Theodor Dreyer and Robert Bresson – two of the greatest artists ever to work in cinema.  Both of these artists operate within a sphere of minimalist style and content, highly organized and demanding (even rigid and arbitrary) forms of mise-en-scène, and a desire to use these techniques to create a spiritual cinema.  What a spiritual cinema might be will thus be another question of central importance.  The notion that “less is more” will enter our discussions.  Both Dreyer and Bresson might be described as Christian mystics, and their films aim for a highly unusual degree of tension, and both are among the most profoundly original filmmakers in cinema history.