CSCL5411: Avant-Garde Cinema

4 Credits

In 1939, the art critic Clement Greenberg defined avant-garde art in opposition to the “kitsch” of mass-produced culture. To what extent does this conception of the avant-garde apply to the cinema—an institution and art form that supposedly requires machines and industrial modes of production? This course introduces students to key works of avant-garde and experimental film made by artists working on the margins of commercial film and mainstream art institutions. From the first half of the twentieth century, we will consider influential films made under the banners of Futurism, Constructivism, Surrealism, and Dada, and discuss their complex relation to Hollywood commodities. In the postwar period, we will explore a range of increasingly global experimental film practices, from the queer underground cinema in Latin America to the use of film projection in avant-garde performance. We will examine these practices in light of larger debates about medium specificity as well as the aesthetics and politics of the personal vs. the structural. In the final unit, we will reflect on the way contemporary artists, scholars, and curators have assembled a tradition of avant-garde cinema in the age of new media, and contemplate new directions we want it to take.

View on University Catalog

All Instructors

B+ Average (3.487)Most Common: A (57%)

This total also includes data from semesters with unknown instructors.

14 students
  • 5.00


  • 4.91


  • 4.73



      Contribute on our Github

      Gopher Grades is maintained by Social Coding with data from Summer 2017 to Spring 2024 provided by the Office of Institutional Data and Research

      Privacy Policy