Even though the war films were a big part of the European movement, something else that may have been noticed in the last film was that there was now sound involved in the films. When you allow for on camera audio to be used, you can add so much more to story, such as giving it a better flow, or a story line that doesn’t have to be dependent on the over the top acting, but on what they script says and delivery of said lines.
One of the more famous short films that came out with sound was the film, “Un Chien Andalou,” by Salvador Dali which was an experimental film that doubles for an art exhibit on camera.
As can be seen in the film, the camera is able to operate and variety of ways from following a specific person on camera in front of them or from the side. The camera is capable of zooming in or out of situations. Also for the one of first times, the use of some sort of special effects can be used simply by using camera tricks or by using double negatives on camera.
This trend of growing as a whole continued for the next few decades through the war era as companies were album to expand on their ideas of entertainment and film as a whole because of the new capabilities they now had. Theatres were opening up all over the whole of Europe where people could easily be capable of walking up and watching one of these new short films that could now include not only sound, but also a new medium of equipment that allowed the director to really go full range with that he wanted to do with his ideas.
Although the entirety of film up to this point in the article are all important in their own sense, I believe that the most important frame of time in cinema for Europe came in the 1950’s – 60’s (as far as early film goes). This was the period of time when the world was introduced to filmmakers such as British film-maker Lindsay Anderson, German film-maker Albert Lamorisse who created what could possibly be one of the greatest short films in European histroy with “The Red Ballon,” and François Truffaut who all had a big part in the emergence and popularity in European film.
Along with those filmmakers from above that helped to make short films so popular in Europe were some of the movements during this time frame that were even more important such as the Free Cinema movement (Britain), French New Wave movement, and the Italian neorealism movement.
The Free Cinema movement was a short period in film in Britain where the idea was to put together films via documentary. The goal was to capture what was actually going on around us in the world without using anything to special to capture it. Normal camera work was used for the time with no special effects. Although the only thing that would normally be moved around would be the sound, a lot of the audio still came from just using the sounds that you would normally here while walking around in the park, in school, or even at the fair which is the case in the short film “O, Dreamland.”
As can be seen from film above, there is no particular plot besides what is actually going on at the fair, which still makes for an interesting film. Oddly enough, it almost feels as if the director was trying to give this film a sort of dark feel about it, which I felt from some of the dark light used as well as the looping, grinding sounds that were repeated in the beginning of the film for the first half or so. Two other very well known Free Cinema Movement films were “Momma Don’t Allow,” by Tony Richardson about a Jazz club and the artists and people that would be there, as well as “Together,” by Lorenza Mazzetti which was about a group of deaf-mutes that lived in a town in London that was torn apart and devastated by bombs and other types of war-like damage.
The idea for the films coming together was made up by Anderson and Mazzetti which is shown in the following statement that they prepared together.
“These films were not made together; nor with the idea of showing them together. But when they came together, we felt they had an attitude in common. Implicit in this attitude is a belief in freedom, in the importance of people and the significance of the everyday.As filmmakers we believe that
No film can be too personal.
The image speaks. Sound amplifies and comments.
Size is irrelevant. Perfection is not an aim.
An attitude means a style. A style means an attitude.”
The next important movement in film was that of the Italian Neorealism, which was famous for taking a harsh look at what the underbelly of Italian life was, by way of going into the lives of those who live in crime-infested, poor parts of Italy. One of things about these films that made them so interesting and heart-wrenching was that most of the actors were just regular citizens with no profession in acting. So when these people were talking about the poverty and desperation they felt, they truly meant every word of it. One of the biggest films as far as short films go in the Neorealism era of Italy was the film, “Paisan,” by Roberto Rossellini which is an anthology film featuring 6 different episodes about peoples reactions to the Italian part in World War 2 during the time it was happening. It was able to show the grittiness of the poorer parts of town, the desperation the people felt, and the need to rebuild and find the glory they once had after the war.
Although this is only a short clip of the film and its in another language, just by seeing the dark lighting and use of children in what look to be like impovirshed parts of town you can feel what the director was aiming towards.
The last part of European short film I wanted to talk about was the growth of French Film, especially in the 50’s when the French New Wave phase came through, which was influenced by the before mentioned Italian Neorealism, as well as classic Hollywood films that were being produced. The things that the French New Wave was going for was the little things in life that make up the world we live in. They weren’t trying to make documentary’s, just films that didn’t look at the world or life from a fictional stand point, the films were of events that could occur. The biggest and most influential film-maker of this time period was Francois Truffaut, who made a premier film in this category with the short, “Les Mistons,” (The Brats).
As seen in the film, the director is just following the lives and days a few boys who are in love with this women and are jealous of her boyfriend, causing them to travel around following them and teasing them for their enjoyment. This is something that happens on a day to day basis everywhere. It’s kids being kids and makes for a great film. Although the story is fiction, the situation is not, this could happen anywhere.
As Europe continued to grow as a union, its film industry did as well. They made advancements that made film over seas just as popular and respectable, if not more respectable, than in the United States. And it all started with a collective group of films called “Shorts.”