This chapter fleshes out the predominant strand and the current state of film theory and film studies. The strand is traced back to the notion of ‘political modernism’, a term denoting a particular period of film studies examined by D. N. Rodowick. Instead of criticizing political modernism, the chapter points out that much of what passes for film studies today has failed to go beyond the debates of political modernism. The logic of political modernism is based on a fundamental distinction between illusion and reality in the cinema. Film studies have predominantly been guided by a desire to forge clear distinctions between what can be considered real in the cinema and what can be considered illusory or non-real. The strategies of political modernism, which tried to dismantle the representational allure of orthodox cinema, were and are still clinging to a theory of representation. As Kibbey argues, the iconoclastic theory of the image is one predicated on a distinction between false and true images.