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a trend in French cinema originating in 1918.
To counterbalance commercial cinema, such directors as A. Ganse, G. Dulac, M. L’Herbeir, and G. Epstain, headed by L. Deluc, tried to assert the principles of high cinematic art, devoting much attention to attempts at original means of expression; they called for the disclosure of the essence of the subject through extensive use of rhythmical montage techniques, foreshortening, unfocused filming, and so on. These attempts ultimately underwent a significant evolution.
From the early 1920’s formalistic tendencies, the influence of such artistic trends as dadaism and surrealism, and an orientation toward the tastes of narrow circles of the refined bourgeois intelligentsia were expressed in the work of the avant-gardists. These very tendencies received the greatest dissemination and the most brilliant expression in France and other countries. The early works of R. Clair, J. Renoir, L. Grémillon, J. Vigo, L. Buñuel, and others have avant-garde ties. During the 1930’s a number of directors of the avant-garde moved toward realistic art.