Vol. 1 No. 1 (2021): Beginnings
Articles

The Origins of Recycled Films: Archive Film Art Found Footage Created through PostProduction Strategies

Tünde Bodoni-Dombi
Partium Christian University

Published 2021-05-29

Keywords

  • archive film art,
  • found footage,
  • metacinematic association

Abstract

At the beginning of cinema, in his early twentieth-century research the Soviet director and film theorist Sergei Eisenstein developed his theory of associative montage “1+1=3.” Nowadays, new methods have been added to this theory. These variables include the creative re-use of allusions to film history. In contemporary cinema, when a new archive film uses sequences from cinema heritage, it quotes from the past and can activate visually and content-wise complex cultural memories. In these films, the successive placement of two sequences, beyond their association, creates new associative meaning, thus, it calls forth metacinematic associations. This additional meaning is the imprint of cinematic heritage. Final Cut by György Pálfi and Péter Lichter’s works make use of the archives of cinematic heritage through a reinterpreted film language, attempting to create independent, innovative works of art. They use the same starting point, based on a directorial concept, but the two attempts resulted in completely different motion pictures. Due to the approach at the basis of their conception, these films illustrate both the linear, i.e., the archetypal narrative film representation and the nonlinear narration. However, these films are not only defined by the scenes they are compiled of, but also bear the particularities of the original motion pictures, referring to and going far beyond the individual characteristics of the scenes themselves. Despite being linear narrative films, the cinematic rhetoric of neither motion picture is continuous but associative - they bring into play layers of film culture. Overall, Eisenstein’s formula can be extended in the following way: 1 afs (archive film sequence) + 1 afs (archive film sequence) = 3 mca (metacinematic associations).