In Masterpieces of Modernist Cinema, prominent scholars consider well-known films that seem to stand alone in the history of cinema, without obvious precursors, and without progeny: The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, L'âge d'or, and Last Year in Marienbad, to name a few. Such films appear to be sui generis and in some ways incomprehensible; but as these essays demonstrate, they are best understood within contexts beyond the world of cinema. Most were heavily influenced by some aspect of Modernism Symbolism, Dada, Expressionism, Surrealism, Constructivism, Abstract Expressionism, Minimalism, etc. but the social and political events of the period have left their mark on these films as well. The essays in this collection address individual films, exploring the place of each in the history of cinema and the history of ideas, ultimately rendering each comprehensible.
Contributors are Dudley Andrew, Tom Gunning, Bruce Jenkins, Brandon W. Joseph, Anton Kaes, T. Jefferson Kline, Carrie Lambert-Beatty, Gilberto Perez, Ted Perry, Tony Pipolo, John Pruitt, P. Adams Sitney, and Yuri Tsivian.