Focus Scientific Research

CINÈMA BRUT - An alternative genealogy of the film avant-garde

Gabriele Jutz

Institute for Fine and Media Arts

Until now, the concept ‘film avant-garde’ has been connected with the idea that a film’s ‘avant-garde’ quality is proportional to its ‘purity’, and to the degree to which it demonstrates its media-specific conditionality (its ‘essence’), and ‘frees itself’ from other arts. This modernistic discourse on purism, which is also entrenched in the current post-medium condition, presents this study with an alternative phenomenology and genealogy of the avant-garde film, which takes not the pure, but rather the ‘impure’ as a benchmark; With the ‘expanded cinema’ movement, the ‘handmade’ film and the 'found-footage’ film, ‘cinéma pur’ is contraposed with a ‘cinéma brut’, the dispositives and practices of which, orient themselves toward the dirty and ‘essence-free’, and toward the breakdown of form and boundaries. Leading on from art- and culture-theoretical debates about materiality and performance, index and informe and purport, fundamentals of Cinéma brut are being systematized, so that on basis of exemplary analyses, key points of an "unclean" history of European and North American avant-garde film can be marked out.