Alternative Cinema

Essay by Stealthycat10College, UndergraduateA+, June 2004

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The term alternative cinema has certain connotations. To many, it is not alternative, instead it is the way cinema was meant to be viewed, in that the viewer should be able to define the film in their own personal terms. In the following essay, I will firstly examine what the term alternative cinema means, and secondly how Brecht's theories are evident in many elements of the films that have been pigeon-holed as alternative cinema. The word alternative is described in Collins English Dictionary as: "Denoting a lifestyle, culture, art form, etc., regarded by its adherents as preferable to that of contemporary society because it is less conventional, materialistic, or institutionalised, and, often, more in harmony with nature."(Makin, 1992) This is an extremely useful definition, as the word 'alternative' has been used to describe a form of medicine or therapy, and even forms of energy. 'Alternative medicine' examines the persons physical well-being, and uses acupuncture, feng-shui, massage, and many others, as techniques to alleviate disease.

'Alternative energy' is energy created from what surrounds us, such as, wind, the sea and the tides; it is energy that brings us in alignment with nature. The word 'alternative' in these forms looks at natural processes found in nature. A number of films from around the world can be pigeon-holed as alternative cinema, that is, the cinema that rejects the mainstream approach of filmmaking. It is not a particular method of making films because many of these films are very different from each other and use differing approaches. alternative cinema does not look at a particular way of doing things but a particular way of not doing things. the Brechtian aspect of making films centres largely on the theoretical and creative side of film-making, therefore, many of the films said to be alternative, in terms...