Concepts in Film Theory

Concepts in Film Theory

Concepts in Film Theory

Concepts in Film Theory

Synopsis

A remarkable continuation of Dudley Andrew's classic, The Major Film Theories, this work focuses on the key concepts in film study: perception, representation, signification, narrative structure, adaptation, evaluation, identification, figuration, and interpretation. Beginning with a lucid introductory chapter on the current state of film theory, Andrew goes on to build an overall view of film, presenting his own ideas on each concept, and giving a sense of the interdependence of these concepts. By providing lively explanations of theories that involve perceptual psychology and structuralism, semiotics and psychoanalysis, hermeneutics and genre study, Andrew offers unique observations on these often obscure topics, allowing readers to acquire the background they need to enrich their understanding of film--and of art.

Excerpt

Certainly in some sense this volume is a sequel to The Major Film Theories, for it begins in 1965, virtually where that earlier book left off. Just as Jean Mitry was seen there as the culminating figure of the classic era, so here he is situated at the outset of the modern era. Because film theory has grown so institutionalized, taken up as it has been in universities, promulgated in professional societies and at academic conferences, advanced in dissertations and in specialized journals, it seems proper to approach it through topics rather than through careers of individuals. Of course this limits my discussion to those issues that obsess our journals, conferences, and seminars. Maverick thinkers, some perhaps of lasting importance, are perforce left unheard in such a survey of recent trends. But I do not apologize for this, since more than mere convenience has urged this strategy. It is my belief, argued throughout this text in its method as well as in its propositions, that film theory exists as a discourse among theorists and with films. Hence I have gone straight to the noisiest comers of that discourse and have sought to make sense of the yelling and the whispers overheard there.

Are the topic headings sufficient to circumscribe this babble of modern theory? They are meant to be, and the reader is challenged to locate significant omissions along the way. Within the discussion of each topic, however, no pretense to completeness can be claimed. I present the arguments that most disturb or inspire me, and whenever useful, adduce enough background to situate a given film problem within its proper intellectual tradition.

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