In the credits of the film, Diepte is already described as an ‘absolute film’. The ‘absolute film’ is a genre within the avant-garde film of the 1920s and 1930s. Here the term ‘absolute’ refers to the fact that the cinematic resources that are deployed (image, sound, rhythm, and colour) are used as purely autonomous entities. They do not refer to a reality that exists outside of the film, and they represent nothing; they only exist in relation to one another. It is irrelevant whether the images have been taken from reality, or are purely abstract images.
In the Netherlands, Menno ter Braak was the chief proponent of the genre. In his 1931 pamphlet De absolute film, he elaborates on the genre. Ter Braak does not only mention the widely recognized films by Eggeling, Richter, and Dulac (Le coquille et le clergyman) as examples of the absolute film, but also includes in the genre films by Eisenstein and Pudovkin, as well as Dreyer’s Jeanne d’Arc. In these films, the creators compose their own filmic reality. They also focus entirely on making use of the medium’s cinematic possibilities. These are films in which the interaction between the various filmic elements plays the key role.
In Diepte, Dupont wants more than anything else to show a sense of harmony. He does so with both abstract, animated images as well as live-action footage. This makes the film a combination of the German, abstract version of absolute film and its French variant cinema pur, which much more makes uses of images taken from reality.