At the beginning of class, we discussed T,O,U,C,H,I,N,G: and how it served as an example of how films were starting to expand their boundaries beyond storytelling. Directors were starting to use everything from the editing of the film, to coloring the celluloid itself to produce astounding visuals and really push the limitations of not only the visual experience of films, but our entire sensory experience as well. The way we perceive time, the sound, the colors — all served as important factors into this “new way of seeing” that some directors were trying to explore. The editing and direction of Head is also another example of this.
This transitioned into a discussion on performance, namely how the characters in many of Warhol’s films are very aware of the camera and break the fourth wall consistently. We also see this in Midnight Cowboy, a Best Picture winner that sees Jon Voight and Dustin Hoffman go against tradition and look directly into the camera, an example of the influence avant garde was having on Hollywood. By doing this, the performances create a feeling of authenticity and yet a new way of seeing.
Further, the success of Midnight Cowboy could be seen as the end of the counter-cultural movement, in a sense that Hollywood was now acknowledging and applauding the material, essentially branding it mainstream. The gap between traditional Hollywood storytelling and avant-garde was closing a bit. This was further explored in Jackie’s presentation on the Biskin readings, where we watched a clip from Easy Rider that featured both sex and blatant use of drugs. An example not only of how not only counter-culture was going mainstream, but also how mainstream was going counter-culture. More Hollywood protagonists were given qualities reminiscent of counter-culture values, and projected through the story as heroes.