Theories of Film

Theories of Film

Theories of Film

Theories of Film

Excerpt

Recent years have seen a developing interest in serious study of the cinema. The range and number of close analyses of the work of particular directors and studies of special aspects of film has increased, it sometimes seemed, day by day. In the face of this burgeoning obsession it is thus a little odd that film theory, classically defined by Eisenstein, has remained much as it was: a little practised and barely reputable pursuit. Though we may now take seriously a Howard Hawks or an Alfred Hitchcock, to `theorize' about film still smacks of over- intellectualism. It is one thing to recognize the need to reflect self-consciously on the critic's `tools of the trade' it is another to indulge. In some part this is a consequence of the traditional Anglo-Saxon mistrust of such a suspiciously European pursuit. English thinking, and not only on film, has seemingly always preferred to keep its feet firmly planted on the ground, a policy which has not been without its rewards. But on the debit side it has also led to a situation wherein the larger intellectual environment has barely felt the need to address itself to the cinema. Even now our orthodox academic institutions lack a context in which to study the major new art of the twentieth century . . .

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