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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathWieland

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and space, on the significance of the place from which meaning emerges for the expression which results. The emotion of these works apparently confounds attempts to distil their discursive qualities. Their passion seems to encourage most observers to take a group of films at face value that palpably resist being reduced to simple exercises in political affirmation.

Film Historiography & The Two Avant-Gardes

I would suggest that the root of the difficulties with Wieland's films lies not in the works themselves but with the manner in which they have been integrated into film historiography. In his influential text, «The Two Avant-Gardes,» Peter Wollen established a nearly unbridgeable division between two tendencies within avant-garde film of the 1960s and 70s. That which he termed the «Co-op Movement» was North American in origin and was most closely linked to the traditions and imperatives of the art world in that it sought to apply Greenbergian criteria for modernist painting to an examination of a medium which is composed, most fundamentally, of light, celluloid and time. [7] This has led, in Wollen's estimation, to an essentialism, an


ontology not of the profilmic (as is the case in the realist project, à la Bazin) but of the nature of the cinematic process, or what he there terms «pure film.» It is no coincidence that this is the title given by David E. James to his chapter on structural film. Indeed James' «Allegories of Cinema» in its entirety can be considered an expansion of (and response to) Wollen's model, applied to American film in the 1960s. [8] Predictably, Wieland's work is located (by James) on the «Co-op Movement» side of the paradigm, within the context of «pure film.» But what is Wollen's other option? He traces a line from the Soviet filmmakers of the 1920s through to the avant-garde narrative filmmakers of 1960s and 70s Europe (such as Jean-Luc Godard and Straub-Huillet), the common denominator being a simultaneous emphasis on the signified of images, on the significance of the profilmic in a realist sense, and the calling into question of the apparently self-evident relationship between signifier and signified. Thus focus switches here from the dispositif of the medium as defined by the rarefied contemporary art world to that defined by a film with an audience, created for mass agitation. A consideration of the

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