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Dadaism in Film By Lantz, Andy

DOI: 10.4324/9781135000356-REM308-1
Published: 01/10/2017
Retrieved: 14 July 2024, from


Members of the Dada cultural and artistic movement began to experiment with film as a means to disseminate their stylistic partialities and cultural values through a new medium free of cultural respectability and aesthetic pretension. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, by Tristan Tzara in 1916, this avant-garde movement would soon spread to France, Germany, the United States, and elsewhere. Much like the surrealists who would follow, the dadaists sought to liberate their audience from the cultural allegiances, prejudices, and norms of thinking that, in their view, had been largely responsible for the catastrophes of World War I.

Unlike surrealist film, dadaist film did not seek to lure its viewers into the cinematic illusion. Instead, dadaists employed unconventional methods in order to alienate the audience members and to provide them the distance with which to reflect upon the meta-artistic (and anti-artistic) quality of their productions. Film enabled the dadaists to distort reality, motion, and perspective; it revealed familiar things in radically unfamiliar but persuasive new shapes.

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Citing this article:

Lantz, Andy. Dadaism in Film. Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism, Taylor and Francis,

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