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Theories of filmic reality
Author: Richard Rushton

In formulating a notion of filmic reality, this book offers a novel way of understanding our relationship with cinema. It argues that cinema need not be understood in terms of its capacities to refer to, reproduce or represent reality, but should be understood in terms of the kinds of realities it has the ability to create. The book investigates filmic reality by way of six key film theorists: André Bazin, Christian Metz, Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek and Jacques Rancière. In doing so, it provides comprehensive introductions to each of these thinkers, while also debunking many myths and misconceptions about them. Along the way, a notion of filmic reality is formed that radically reconfigures our understanding of cinema.

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Thomas Wartenberg

Film theorists and philosophers have both contended that narrative fiction films cannot present philosophical arguments. After canvassing a range of objections to this claim, this article defends the view that films are able to present philosophical thought experiments that can function as enthymemic arguments. An interpretation of Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is given in which the films criticism of the technology of memory erasure is just such a thought experiment, one that functions as a counter-example to utilitarianism as a theory for the justification of social practices.

Film Studies
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Mass and Propaganda. An Inquiry Into Fascist Propaganda (Siegfried Kracauer, 1936)
Nicholas Baer

Written in French exile, the following text by Siegfried Kracauer from December 1936 outlines a research project that the German-Jewish intellectual undertook with funding from the Institute for Social Research. The work outlined here would be a study of totalitarian propaganda in Germany and Italy through sustained comparison with communist and democratic countries, especially the Soviet Union and the United States. Appearing in English translation for the first time, this document from Kracauer‘s estate is crucial for a full understanding of his career as a sociologist, cultural critic, film theorist and philosopher, demonstrating the global scope of his engagement with cinema, mass culture and modernity.

Film Studies
Film theory’s foundation in medievalism
Bettina Bildhauer

While most chapters in this book are concerned with medieval film in the sense of films about the Middle Ages, this chapter shows that all films have been considered medieval by a surprisingly large number of influential film theorists. The argument they put forward is that film is so radically different and new that it is no longer just part of modern culture, but instead, in an apparent

in Medieval film
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James S. Williams

: his status as an auteur , his role and range as a collaborator; his commitment to experimentation; and his importance as a film theorist. We begin with a basic question: what type of filmmaker was Cocteau? Cocteau as auteur Cocteau is usually regarded as a ‘literary filmmaker’, part of a peculiarly French tradition of writers who also became innovatory filmmakers (see Michalczyk 1980 : 1–28). Godard

in Jean Cocteau
Jane Chin Davidson

for Chinese identification in the script-based cinematic form. The scholarship of film studies is usually ascribed to the literary discourse for this reason, which other film theorists, including Shu-mei Shih, have emphasized as their theoretical focus. Shih’s discussion on ‘Sinophonic articulation’ best defines the significance of speech and language in the representation of film, although she includes the visual arts in her description of Sinophonic ‘acts and practices of cultural production – naming, writing, making art.’17 In her book, Visuality and Identity

in Staging art and Chineseness
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Ian Aitken

, feminism, phenomenology, art history and ethnography, have also been drawn on by film theorists in recent years. In this process of connection with important intellectual disciplines and traditions, ‘classical’ realist film theory also has an important role to play, because the approaches developed by the classical realist theorists are directly linked to historically important traditions of thought, including those of Kant

in Realist film theory and cinema
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National cinema and unstable genres
Valentina Vitali

Introduction: national cinema and unstable genres In 1970 film theorists Paul Willemen and Claire Johnston wrote to Ian Cameron, founder of the British film journal Movie and, at the time, director of November Books, the publisher of the groundbreaking Movie Paperbacks series, proposing a book on Terence Fisher. Founded in 1962, Movie had elaborated an oppositional stand within and against film journalism by posing the question of critical method in relation to a practice that was then considered not to have artistic value: Hollywood cinema. As Willemen put it

in Capital and popular cinema
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Hyangjin Lee

existing society. Film is a cultural text produced in society. Among a variety of issues raised by film as a cultural text, those related with ideology are of critical importance. According to Graeme Turner, ideology is ‘the most important conceptual category in cultural studies’. 1 To those film theorists and critics who are concerned with the relationship between social realities and cinematic representation, ideological forces

in Contemporary Korean cinema
Richard Rushton

states her case in straightforward terms: Rushton_02_Ch1.indd 27 31/08/2010 09:36 28  The reality of film How, one might ask somewhat bluntly, does it [the ‘equipmentfree aspect of reality’] differ from the reality-effect, the masking of technique and production which film theorists of the 1970s were to pinpoint as the ideological basis of classical Hollywood cinema?10 First of all, the reality conveyed by the cinematic apparatus is no more and no less phantasmagoric than the ‘natural’ phenomena of the commodity world it endlessly replicates; and Benjamin knew all

in The reality of film