Film Theory: Creating a Cinematic Grammar (Short Cuts)
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Film Theory addresses the core concepts and arguments created or used by academics, critical film theorists, and filmmakers, including the work of Dudley Andrew, Raymond Bellour, Mary Ann Doane, Miriam Hansen, bell hooks, Siegfried Kracauer, Raul Ruiz, P. Adams Sitney, Bernard Stiegler, and Pier Paolo Pasolini. This volume takes the position that film theory is a form of writing that produces a unique cinematic grammar; and like all grammars, it forms part of the system of rules that govern a language, and is thus applicable to wider range of media forms. In their creation of authorial trends, identification of the technology of cinema as a creative force, and production of films as aesthetic markers, film theories contribute an epistemological resource that connects the technologies of filmmaking and film composition. This book explores these connections through film theorisations of processes of the diagrammatisation (the systems, methodologies, concepts, histories) of cinematic matters of the filmic world.
frameworks of film theory largely avoid the categorical errors of non-materialist theory. Analysing and identifying the theoretical/generic/philosophic/material position of the screen text is a matter of using the appropriate methodology for expressive and polemic aims. But what is appropriate, given the range of modeling tools at our disposal? Each era in film theory has had a dominant methodology that we can retrospectively observe and critique. ‘To build new models,’ Janell Watson writes, ‘is
practices. Semiotic analysis, as applied to the theorisation of film, involves the study of cinema as a system of signs, where signifying practices engage certain types and styles of discourse that are able to be recognised, rejected and/or critiqued (cf. Wollen 1969; Metz 1974a; Stam et al. 1992; Buckland 2000b; Ehrat 2004). 4 The theory of language is called semiotics. This is the study of signs, that is something which stands for something else. In language, the word equals a signifier,
important as what I am seeing. As Virilio, Bosak and Stiegler respectively argue, the ecology of the current militarised, hydrocarbonised landscape and its materials is the everyday spectacle through which the perceptual field of the spectator-as-participant is oriented (Virilio 1989: 25, 70; Bozak 2012: 9; Stiegler 2011: 15). This re-figured landscape, with technology-images ubiquitous to everyday life, has of course had an affect on the cultures of film viewing. To go to an artist’s studio or a
Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. Althusser, L. (1971) Lenin and Philosophy and other Essays, trans. B. Brewster. New York: Monthly Review Press. Altman, R. (2007) Silent Film Sound. New York: Columbia University Press. Amago, S. (2010) ‘Ethics, Aesthetics, and the Future in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men’, in Discourse, 32, 2, 212–35. Andrew, D. (1976) The Major Film Theories. New York: Oxford University Press. ___ (1984) Concepts in Film Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
continental methodologies, but there is too much crossover of research aims and intentions to see that as an absolute categorical divider. Within these divisions are many sub-categories for theorisation, which can also be classified by their methods and aims, and how far they might stray from their orthodox positions. Each and every position taken has a specific political and aesthetic legacy behind it, where even the nonsensical or abstract position holds just as much ‘meaning’ and political