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International Film Styles: Surrealism

Rob Miller | Friday September 19, 2014

Categories: A Level, EDUQAS A Level, EDUQAS A2, FM4, Section A: World Cinema, Analysis, Film Analysis, Films & Case Studies, Directors, Louis Bunuel, World Cinema, The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, Un Chien Andalou, Genres & Case Studies, Comedy, Fantasy, Silent, Surrealism, Hot Entries, Key Concepts, Audience, Film Language, Representation

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Sample Questions

  • How far does cinematic style support themes and ideas in the films you have studied for this topic?
  • Discuss how far the development of your chosen international film style can be seen as the work of particular creative individuals?
  • Discuss characteristic features of casting and/or performance, exploring how far these features contribute the overall effect of the films you have studied.
  • What is the relationship between visual style and the subject matter of the films you have studied?


“This topic focuses on the characteristics of a film style which may have originated in a particular national cinema as a ‘movement’ and which subsequently has had trans-national significance. It is possible to focus on the initial moment, (such as early surrealism) in two principal films, with the expectation that the candidate will have some awareness of the adaptation of the style elsewhere in at least one further film. A different approach would be to look at parallel developments??

Surrealism is a broad area of study and this resource attempts to contextualise surrealism in terms of both its historical origins but also how the style has been adapted by focusing on key texts. Surrealism, as an ‘International Film Style’ (this FM4 examined topic) is taken as emerging out of the Surrealist Art Movement, particularly with the film work of Louis Bunuel. As a result, one of the key texts explored in this resource will be the seminal 1929 silent surrealist ‘masterpiece’, Un Chien Andalou directed by Bunuel and controversial artist Salvador Dali. The work of other historical directors will also be explored e.g. Jean Cocteau (Blood of a Poet, 1930) but it will be important to look at the body of work of one director in particular, Bunuel’s from L’age D’or (1930) through to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) and That Obscure Object of Desire (1977). Other American films such as...

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