Film Theory

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Februar 2010



What is the relationship between cinema and spectator? That is the central question for film theory, and renowned film scholars Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener use this question to guide students through all of the major film theories from the classical period to today in this insightful, engaging book. Every kind of cinema (and film theory) imagines an ideal spectator, and then imagines a certain relationship between the mind and body of that spectator and the screen. Using seven distinctive configurations of spectator and screen that move progressively from exterior to interior relationships, the authors retrace the most important stages of film theory from 1945 to the present, from neo-realist and modernist theories to psychoanalytic, apparatus, phenomenological and cognitivist theories.


Introduction: film theory, cinema, the body and the senses 1. Cinema as window and frame REAR WINDOW - Constructivism - Realism - Open and closed film forms (Leo Braudy) - Classical cinema - Central perspective - Rudolf Arnheim - Sergej Eisenstein - Andre Bazin - David Bordwell - Cinema as shop- window and display 2. Cinema as door - screen and threshold THE SEARCHERS - Entry into the film - Etymology of screen - Thresholds of the cinema/movie theater - Beginnings: credits and credit sequences - Neoformalism (Bordwell/Thompson) - Post- structuralism (Thierry Kuntzel) - Michail Bachtin - Door/screen as filmic motif in Buster Keaton and Woody Allen 3. Cinema as mirror and face PERSONA- Bela Balazs - The close- up - The face - Face as mirror of the unconscious - Christian Metz - Jean- Louis Baudry - Apparatus- theory - Early cinema and the close- up (Tom Gunning) - Reflexive doubling in modern (art) cinema - Mirror neurons - Paradoxes of the mirror 4. Cinema as eye - look and gaze BLADE RUNNER - Active and passive eye - The mobile eye of early cinema - Dziga Vertov - Apparatus- theory - Suture - Continuity- editing - Laura Mulvey - Feminist film theories - THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS - Historicity of modes of perception - Regimes of the gaze - The big Other (Jacques Lacan) - Slavoj Zizek - The panoptic gaze (Michel Foucault) - Niklas Luhmann and selfmonitoring 5. Cinema as skin and touch CRASH - Critique of "ocularcentrism" - Skin and identity - THE NEW WORLD- Vivian Sobchack - Phenomenology - The (re-)turn to the body -Avant- garde practices - Body and genre (Linda Williams, Barbara Creed) -The skin of film (Laura Marks) - Accented cinema (Hamid Naficy) -Siegfried Kracauer 6. Cinema as ear - acoustics and space SINGIN' IN THE RAIN - Sound as spatial phenomenon - Silent cinema and the introduction of sound - Sound in classical cinema -- The acousmetre (Michel Chion) - Reversals in the hierarchy of image and sound - Surround- systems - Materiality and plasticity of sound 7. Cinema as brain - mind and body ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND- Propaganda and cult films - Five concepts for connecting mind and cinema - Gilles Deleuze - Annette Michelson - Torben Grodal - Mind- game films - Mind and body, spectator and film - Cognitivism - Phenomenology - Empathy - Embodiment and disembodied vision Conclusion: digital cinema - the body and the senses refigured? TOY STORY - Animation and (photo-)graphics - The future of projection - Screens: bigger and smaller - The new body norm: face or hand? - Productive contradictions: digital cinema, virtual reality, media convergence - Interface and portal instead of window, door and screen - MONSTERS INC. and doors - Public and private - Mobility and hybridity - Film theory and philosophy: radical reformulations or rescue missions?


Thomas Elsaesser is Professor of Film and Television Studies in the Department of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. A renowned film scholar, he is the author and editor of many books, including Weimar Cinema and After, also published by Routledge. Malte Hagener is Associate Professor of media studies at the Leuphana Universitat Luneburg. He has written Moving Forward, Looking Back: The European Avant-garde and the Invention of Film Culture, 1919-1939 and edited many volumes, including Cinephilia: Movies, Love, and Memory.


'Any publication with Thomas Elsaesser's name on it is cause for anticipation. This jointly authored volume reaffirms not only Elsaesser's comprehensive command of the diverse theoretical projects that constitute "film theory" but also the creative capacity of both authors to reframe concepts and debates in a way that shakes up and rejuvenates the field.' - Felicity Collins, Screening the Past '...the book presents a coherent argument while at the same time exhibiting a breadth of theoretical expertise.' - David Sorfa, Liverpool John Moores University 'Film Theory possesses a robustness to match its sophistication, and an approach that feels as though it has been road-tested. This book stands a very good chance of wide adoption in introductory film studies courses, as preparatory reading, or as a text to be worked through chapter by chapter, supplemented by close analysis of the theories at issue, and screenings of the films discussed. The combination of sophistication and robustness should ensure that it will prove effective both at undergraduate and at graduate level.' - David Trotter, Cambridge University 'With admirable concision, Elsaesser and Hagener's book manages intelligently and insightfully to use its own new and unique framework to cover virtually all of film theory, suggest the schools it divides into and their stakes, and to relate this to film history, to broader philosophy, and to transformations that film is undergoing in the age of the digital.' - Dana Polan, New York University Praise for the German version of Film Theory. 'Each chapter begins with a succinct sequence analysis that provides a foundation for the theoretical discussion that follows. Instead of foregrounding the theory and then "applying" it to the film, the authors invite the student to refer back to the film as the chapter progresses, critically considering how the practical enunciation of key theoretical concepts might (or might not) occur. The authors argue that this act of reflection should not terminate with the film that prefaces each chapter, but rather should inspire the student to draw connections between the theory and other films they have previously seen. This productively encourages the student to familiarize itself with theory by connecting it to his or her own larger framework of experiences with cinema.' -Medienwissenshaft 2/2008
EAN: 9780415801010
ISBN: 041580101X
Untertitel: An Introduction through the Senses. 40 black & white halftones. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Taylor & Francis Ltd.
Erscheinungsdatum: Februar 2010
Seitenanzahl: 222 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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