Film studies is currently undergoing a needed and healthy expansion of methodologies
and critical approaches, including media, cultural and technology studies. This is
crucial not just for examining cinemas present but also its past. Using format
theory, this article opens up our understanding of what cinema has been, rather than
what it should have been. It does this by documenting the minor technological
footprint of movie theatres when compared to the expansive one consisting of 8mm and
16mm small-gauge projectors. In the United States by 1980, these portable
devices,outnumbered commercial theatres by an estimated factor of 1000:1.
Beginning film studies offers a critical introduction to this academic discipline for undergraduate (and other) readers coming to it for the first time. Written accessibly, it ranges across key topics, theories and approaches in film studies. For this new volume, the author has thoroughly updated the first edition, writing fresh case studies, tracking and evaluating recent developments in the study of film, and providing up-to-the-minute suggestions for further reading. The book begins by considering film’s formal features (mise-en-scène, editing and sound) before moving outwards to discuss narrative, genre, authorship, the star, and film’s ideological engagement (its staging of class, gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity). Later chapters on film industries and on film consumption – where and how we watch movies (not least in the digital age) – reflect and assess the discipline’s recent geographical ‘turn’. The book takes a global perspective, illustrating its arguments by reference to film cultures ranging from Hollywood to Bollywood, and from the French ‘New Wave’ to contemporary Hong Kong. Each chapter concludes with a case study, exploring such topics as sound in The Great Gatsby, narrative in Inception and ideology in Blue Is the Warmest Colour. The superhero movie is studied as a genre, and Jennifer Lawrence as a star. Beginning film studies is also interactive, with readers enabled throughout to reflect critically upon the field.
Film Studies is a refereed journal that approaches cinema and the moving image
from within the fields of critical, conceptual and historical scholarship. The
aim is to provide a forum for the interdisciplinary, intercultural and
intermedial study of film by publishing innovative research of the highest
quality. Contributions from diverse perspectives that are formed by the crossing
of institutional and national boundaries are encouraged.
This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and
the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film
studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies
– (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the
increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries
studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the
research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the
field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on
putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond
representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.
This article addresses the current state of film studies as a discipline, profession
and institution, arguing that the hunt for cultural authority has been the defining
feature, motivating force and tragic flaw of film studies. The current self-reflexive
soul- searching reveals that the field – no longer a radical upstart – still lacks
the gravitas of more established subjects. Departments have responded to identity
crises and changing enrolment patterns by mummifying, killing off or burying
foundational emphases. The nostalgia for film studies origins and the jeremiads about
an unmanageable, unruly and recalcitrant discipline yield rose-tinted fantasies about
community and mutual intelligibility that must be ultimately resisted.