Chapter 2


Film Provenances of Exploding Cinema



I now want to trace the cinematic precedents of Exploding cinema, but at the same time to problematise any attempt to understand Exploding Cinema through the framework provided by normative film history. Exploding Cinema relates more closely to a history of 'underground film', which must itself be understood in relation to wider counter cultural traditions. Even then we need to further extend the frame of reference beyond literary discourses. Exploding Cinema seems to relate to fields of 'amateur' and 'oral' culture much more than some of its precedents in underground film.

An Underground is by definition outside of and in opposition to a mainstream or dominant culture. This mainstream is briefly defined before I look more closely at the resonance of early film to the Exploding Cinema events. I then move on to the Post WWII underground film culture in the USA describing the relevant features and indicating how this counter culture crosses the Atlantic to Britain in the mid-Sixties. The effects of this counter culture, which persisted through the Eighties, are sketched. This leads onto an immediate precursor of Exploding Cinema, David Leister's Kino Club, which forms a short case study. The field of amateur film is then considered and related to the US underground and to Exploding Cinema.