Film films and how careful the words are chosen

Film as a Subversive Art by Amos Vogel was first published in 1974. The author of the book is a well-known founder of the New York-based Cinema 16 film society, which was a non-profit organization that showed experimental films and documentaries.The book is organized into three big chapters covering the context, the form and the taboo films, as each chapter shows ways how films can subvert and send hidden messages for the viewer to decipher. Every chapter contains the essence of Vogel’s opinion about this type of art form then they are accompanied by a list of avant-garde, experimental films and their analysis. Vogel does not simply write the summary of each film, instead, he presents the meaning of the movie, the symbols and ideologies. You can read between the lines how passionate the author is about films and how careful the words are chosen in order to send across his message and perhaps inspire the reader to see these movies, to get inspired or even perhaps create experimental movies.The first chapter explains how easily the viewer is captivated by the whole cinema-going experience and how the subversive cinema impacts the glowing eyes that are surrounded by complete darkness. Vogel claims that the subversive cinema is one of the most powerful forms of art as it has the power to change consciousness and avant-garde films change the viewers from simply passively watching the movie to active participants.The second chapter of the book focuses on international cinema, the European cinema and Third World cinema. Apart from explaining what types of experimental movies have been made in various places of the world, Vogel also attacks harsher subjects such as Nazi movies and Hitler’s Mein Kampf. He also gives an ample description of the movie that has since become one the most propaganda film ever made which is called Triumph of the Will (Leni Riefenstahl, 1936).The third chapter is the most interesting one as Vogel approaches the taboo films, with subjects such as death, sex, birth and blasphemy. What makes this chapter unique is the bold approach of these forbidden types of movies as he also provides ample examples. His opinions about censorship and the lack of a certain type of film taboos are fairly grounded and well documented as he also gives a brief history lesson about governmental and clerical censorship.The book shows how the cinema has become one of the most powerful forms of art as through subversive films and their ideologies and hidden messages have the power to influence and manipulate people.The tone of the book is in a way nostalgic as the author is afraid that people will no longer have interest in experimental and avant-garde films. He states that the distribution of such films is also fairly limited since they are made in the 16mm form, making them almost extinct, however, this concept is outdated as some experimental films have surfaced online.Vogel’s contribution is important to the understanding of subversive nature of films as his analysis on underground movies shows his massive knowledge of subculture cinema, as he encourages readers to watch movies with different eyes. Film as a Subversive Art boldly provides analysis of films that challenge the status quo, address taboo subjects and changed the perception of underground culture.