Poetic Forms in Cinema

Session 1


  1. “Cinematographic Principle and the Ideogram” from Film Form by Sergei Eisenstein :

Sergei Eisenstein “Film Form – Essays in Film Theory

2. Pier Paolo Pasolini “Cinema of Poetry”

Pasolini “Cinema of Poetry”

3. Chapter 3 “Imprinted Time” and Chapter 5 “Imprinted Image” from A. Tarkovsky        Sculpting in Time:

Tarkovsky, Andrey “Sculpting in Time: Reflections on the Cinema

4. “Evolution of the Language of Cinema” by Andre Bazin:

Evolution of the Language of Cinema

5. Roland Barthes “The Third Meaning”

Barthes “The Third Meaning

6. Poetry and the Film – the symposium (1963). Maya Deren speech (19:36 – 26:52)

Or a published version of the symposium:


Clips from:

Geoffrey Reggio Naqoyqatsi, Chantal Akerman News From Home, Chantal Akerman Jeane Dilman, Pascal Aubier Le Dormeur, Andrey Tarkovsky The Mirror,  Luis Bunuel The Exterminating Angel.

For  Session 2 read articles above (at the very least, Eisenstein, Pazolini, Barthes)

Also read:

1. Luis Bunuel, “Cinema as an Instrument of Poetry”:

Bunuel “Cinema –  Instrument of Poetry

2. Bunuel, Un Chien Andalou script (suggested, not required):

Un Chien Andalou Script

you can compare to the film:


Suggested Films to watch (you can pick the films that match your interests or those you haven’t seen, etc.):

  1. Andrey Tarkovsky The Mirror 
  1. Chantal Akerman Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles
  2.  Michalangelo Antonioni L’Eclipse
  3. Luis Bunuel Phantom of Liberty
  4. Jean Rouch, Chronicle of a Summer (a documentary)
  5. Joshua Oppenheimer The Act of Killing ( a documentary)
  6. Abbas Kiarostami, Close-up (fiction-documentary)
  7. Ken Anger, Scorpio Rising

Creative Assignment 1 and Creative Journal:
Poetic Forms Homework


Session 2

Clips from:

Tarkovsky Ivan’s Childhood (dream)


Maya Deren Ritual in Transfigured Time (full filme)


Luis Bunuel  Un Chien Andalou (above) and Phantom of Liberty:

Pier Paolo Pasolini Teorema (cinematic parable). Image of entrapment:


Dziga Vertov The Man with a Movie Camera, Jean Rouch Chronicle of A Summer, etc.


For Session 3 – continue reading essays posted above plus I suggest the following:

  1. Sergey Eisenstein “Methods of Montage” from Film Form:


2. Sigmund Freud “On Dream Mechanism” (condensations, dramatization and displacement):


3. Luis Bunuel on Decoupage, or cinematic segmentation from “An Unspeakable Betrayal: Selected Writings of Luis Bunuel”:

Bunuel on Decoupage

4. Jonathan Rosenbaum,  “Interruption as Style: Bunuel’s The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”


Creative Assignments for Session 3:

Assignments for Session 3

When working on the final assignment – keep in mind that the word “organic structure” can be deceptive. Structure is a set of self-imposed limitations. This is true about all the structures/forms we discussed in class, from Maya Deren ritual — to Bunuel scorpion (L’Age d’Or) or serendipity +interruption structure of Phantom of Liberty, or Pasolini theorem/parable (Teorema), etc.