Chapter contents and alternative films

Chapters 2-9 have an identical structure, or disposition. We identify the main premises behind a traditional film theory, distil a method from it, and then analyse a film. We then identify the main premises behind a more recent film theory, distil a method from it, and then analyse the same film again. Chapters 2-9 are therefore structured in the following way We therefore systematically split up the process of film analysis into its component parts. This makes comprehension and comparison...

Ontology and physical portrayal

Bazin's adherence to realism is clearly manifest in his famous essay 'Ontology of the Photographic Image' (Bazin 1967a). The essence of cinema for Bazin lies in its photographic capability, which mechanically (i.e. directly and automatically) records the light reflected from reality (i.e. the pro-filmic events, or subject matter in front of the camera) and fixes it on film. The light itself, rather than the human hand and mind, directly causes the formation of the photographic image. For Bazin,...

A system of semiotic constraints

Openings, then, are also an opportunity to identify surface and deep structure, and their interrelatedness. Here, the formal-textual operations play through the different repertoire of making continuity out of discontinuity while at the same time 'thickening it' by way of figuration and verbal texture. The Hollywood text is 'closed' but also 'open' there are different entry points for an audience, many of the cues are ambiguous, but it is a planned ambiguity, multi-layered and multi-levelled....

The quantitative analysis of style

One of the few film scholars to apply statistical style analysis to film is Barry Salt. In his essay 'Statistical Style Analysis of Motion Pictures' (1974), and later in his book Film Style and Technology (1992), he describes the individual style of directors by systematically collecting data on the formal parameters of their films. Salt then represents the quantity and frequency of these formal parameters in bar graphs, percentages, and average shot lengths (there will be more on these methods...

Deleuze

Especially in the books co-authored with Felix Guattari, Deleuze has taken up much of the agenda of Foucault's project, notably his anti-Freudianism and his concern with the micro-politics of power, in view of promoting more open (i.e. non-family based) communities and an egalitarian, non-repressive society. Foucault once famously said that 'perhaps one day, this century will be known as Deleuzian' (Foucault 1977 165), arguing that Deleuze causes us to reflect on matters that philosophy has...

Thematic criticism and auteurism

One of the most prototypical instances of thematic criticism is auteurism, the attribution of a single source of a film's intentionality, value, and meaning to the director. It was, as the name suggests, initially formulated in Paris, around the influential journal Cahiers du cin ma. Subsequently, auteurism was taken up by Movie magazine in London (see Chapter 3) and by Andrew Sarris in New York, who for a brief period edited Cahiers du cin ma in English and in 1968 published The American...

Beyond Bazin discursive theories of the impression of reality

Contemporary film theorists replaced the notion of 'photographic realism' with the concept of the 'impression of reality', of which the work of JeanLouis Baudry (1986), Daniel Dayan (1976), Stephen Heath (1981 76-112), Colin MacCabe (1986), and Jean-Pierre Oudart (1990) is representative. Moreover, each develops his theory on a different level Baudry on the level of the apparatus Oudart, Dayan, and Heath on the level of the filmic text and MacCabe within the filmic text. Here we shall briefly...

Deconstruction analysis The poetics of production

A first move in 'deconstructing' Polanksi as the auteur of Chinatown would be to assess the competing claims of the producer Robert Evans, the screenwriter Robert Towne, and the actors Jack Nicholson and John Huston, alongside Roman Polanski, to be considered the initiator, controlling force, decisive authority, or creative centre in the making (and subsequent success) of Chinatown. For instance, in a number of screenwriter's manuals as well as for screen-writing gurus such as Robert McKee...

The symptom does it sustain or subvert the system

Second, a question thus arises about what in the film functions as the symptom around which either a deconstructive or a therapeutic reading can organize itself. What is the element, in other words, that sustains the 'reality' of the film, its verisimilitude as a fiction In classical Hollywood it is often said that gender sustains the film (i.e. women as objects to be traded between men, or as objects to be possessed by the look underpin the narrative functioning), but that this mechanism of...

The emblematic cluster

In an opening scene or sequence, we often find a privileged image or composition which in a sense gathers together diverse and heterogeneous elements in a single configuration, whose meaning will only become fully apparent in retrospect, and which thus functions rather like an emblematic picture, or a condensation of the various narrative motifs, as well as implying a temporal structure of anticipation and foreshadowing. In Die Hard's opening there are a number of such constellations, chief...

Analysis

Armed with the notion of different narrative principles and the concept of the syuzhet's distortion of fabula information, we can begin to account for the concrete narrational work of any film. The credit sequence of Lost Highway consists of a shot of a camera attached to the front of a car travelling very fast along a highway at night. The car's headlights illuminate the road. The credits appear from the middle of the screen, travel rapidly towards the camera, and pause momentarily (the...

The postclassical reading theory

Given that the narrative of Die Hard seems so perfectly readable in terms of the classical model, is there even a need to move to another level and invoke the contested distinction classical post-classical What is it in the film that demands additional explanation The questions bring us back to one of the terms we started with, namely spectacle (which we initially excluded in favour of a discussion of narrative) in order to consider the implicit polemical charge that spectacle and narrative...

Method

The most analytically important variable is the set of formal correspondences between fabula and syuzhet. That is, to What extent does the unfolding syuzhet correspond to the logical, temporal, and spatial nature of the fabula we construct The film analyst can extract a fairly rich methodology from Bordwell's cognitive theory of narration. Bordwell introduces a series of concepts to explain how narration works - that is, how syuzhet and style facilitate and hinder the spectator's construction...

Identification of a general theme

To read a film thematically involves determining its significance, identifying a general level of meaning that links the film's various elements into a unified structure. Roland Barthes argued that 'The force of meaning depends on its degree of syst matisation the most powerful meaning is that whose system takes in the greatest number of elements, to the point where it seems to encompass everything notable in the semantic universe' (Culler 1975 227). This involves relating a particular film to...

The history of film style

Conventional film histories (such as Rotha 1930 Jacobs 1939 Sadoul 1949) chronicle technical achievements, and establish a canon of classic films from various national cinemas that manifest these achievements. In addition, a number of historians and film theorists interpret these technical achievements within a modernist framework, and valorize films that seem to them to exploit film's 'essential', or 'distinctive' aesthetic qualities. These conventional film histories are organized according...

Three facets of realism

Bazin favours the techniques of deep focus and the long take because they maintain cinema's 'essential' or 'distinctive' characteristic, its realism, inherited from the photographic image's indexical link with reality, whereas montage breaks this indexical link (while d coupage is a compromise between montage and deep focus). More specifically, Bazin identifies three facets of realism in the cinema (1) an ontological realism (2) a dramatic realism and (3) a psychological realism (Bazin 1991...

Lacanian analysis

We can see how the basic elements of the Oedipus complex and its 'normal' resolution are present in the film, suitably rearranged. But we can also see that what is usually latent and hidden is here made explicit, indeed at once over-explicit and negated through the humour of situation comedy. It should make us alert to the resistance of the film to analysis - signalled by its 'knowingness' about psychoanalysis - and make us wary of the possible transference occurring between the analyst and the...

Introduction

What is cinema and what is a film A mere hundred years old, the cinema has - in its different manifestations - become at once so obvious and so ubiquitous that one hardly appreciates just how strange a phenomenon it actually is. Not only an extraordinary entertainment medium, a superb story-telling machine, it also imparts a kind of presence and immediacy to the world unparalleled elsewhere, and undreamt of before the cinema was 'invented'. Nothing else seems to give such intense feelings...

Theory digital images and modal logic

We shall now pursue and extend Bazin's theory of realism in the photographic image by considering the status of realism in the post-photographic (or digital) image. The question we want to focus on is Can we explain the impact and popularity of Jurassic Park and The Lost World in terms of their 'realism' or, more specifically, their innovative digital effects that create photo-realistic and credible images of unobservable, nonexistent dinosaurs To answer this question, we need to focus on the...

Miseenscne theory

In the early days of mise-en-sc ne criticism (the early 1950s), mise en sc ne was defined in terms of film's immediate perceptual presence, its physical and concrete rendition of space and bodies on screen. These critics (JeanLuc Godard, Claude Chabrol, Jacques Rivette, Fran ois Truffaut) valorized immediacy and presence because, they believed, it relates to film's specificity, its visual and aural tactility, and, most importantly, its adherence to the truth of surface appearances (for a...

Timetravel and the superegos demand

Whatever this trouble is in the sequel and it seems a fair bet that Biff will have a role to play in it , our analysis has uncovered a complex network of relations that ties paternity and masculinity in this film not so much to gender as is traditionally the case in classical Hollywood but to race and international politics, centred on shame and humiliation, of which the reverse side, according to the New Lacanians, is the 'obscene enjoyment' of the superego. What distinguishes Back to the...

Deleuze reading

There is, first of all, something very Deleuze-Guattarian about the world of The Silence of The Lambs what is striking is the outrageously indecorous mingling of bodies and minds between the three central characters, the seeping, bleeding, and conflating of their discrete and otherwise contrasting psychic profiles. The way their particular somatic selves, kinetic traits, and peculiar intensities are taken apart, mixed up, and reassigned is a good example of what Deleuze and Guattari mean by...

The regime of the brothers

This brings us to our third point what sort of strategy is a Hollywood film following when appearing to make race the discursive site of a symptom, naming it, while at the same time risking subversion of its own ideological project Here another aspect of the political analysis of the post-Oedipal society put forward by the New Lacanians might prove helpful the idea, taken from Freud's later metapsychological writings, notably Totem and Taboo, that with the 'death' of the totemic father social...

Lacan

Jacques Lacan is one of the most radical of Freud's interpreters. He returned to Freud's work and subjected it to a linguistic semiotic structuralist reading, in an attempt to make explicit Freud's 'message'. This message concerns the formation of an individual's subjectivity rather than his ego- identity, and particularly the role played in that formation by a speaker's position in language which, according to Lacan, 'speaks me', even though I may think that 'I am speaking' . 'Identity' would...

Race gender and the male body

Also alerting us to 'surface structures' is another element that did not escape the critics, often said to belong to the arsenal of the post-classical cinema, namely the emphasis on the body, and in particular on the display of the male body Bruce Willis in another one of those Hollywood action roles where the hero's shirt is ripped off in the first reel so you can see how much time he has been spending at the gym. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 15 July 1988 As Ebert implies, the film reflects...

Feminism and film method

What is a feminist reading of a classical post-classical Hollywood film The most widely imitated model is that inaugurated by Mulvey's 1975 essay 'Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema' also in Mulvey 1989 14-26 . This complex and polemical piece has often been reproduced, and in the process also been reduced to a checklist of psychoanalytic concepts, such as fetishism, voyeurism, castration anxiety, phallus, and disavowal. Generations of undergraduate and graduate essays have winnowed her...

Freud and Lacan method Freud

We shall restrict ourselves to a relatively limited number of Freudian themes or tropes, foremost among them the so-called Oedipus complex and - with respect to mainstream films - the Oedipal trajectory of the The Oedipus complex as understood in film studies basically asserts that most mainstream films are stories of the formation of normative identities, and that certain genres, notably the Western, the thriller, and science fiction, are often stories of male cultural initiation, answering...

The classical cinema some cultural definitions

While Aristotle argued that the cultural function of drama is to 'purge' the emotions by evoking 'fear and pity', the Russian formalists did not specify the purpose of narratives in this way. By contrast, L vi-Strauss and his followers, as we saw, offer a number of explanations why story-telling and dramatic narratives are such universal features of human societies. In film studies since the 1970s, these explanations have tended to be narrowed down to those indicated above, namely ideology and...

Symptomatic readings

On one level, the emphasis on looking and its Lacanian elaborations allow us to redefine the plot's overall purpose. No longer aimed at ensuring stable Oedipal identity, Back to the Future's narrative economy of repetitions and variations would serve to ward off 'castration anxiety' if we describe it in Freudian terms , and to bridge the gap between the look and the gaze if we use a Lacanian vocabulary . Either way, the film knows that the attempt must necessarily fail, for not even the 'happy...

Theory the five codes of SZ

Roland Barthes opens S Z by distinguishing structural analysis from textual analysis. 'Structural analysis' refers to an activity that equalizes all texts by reducing them to the same underlying universal system. This is the type of activity Barthes practised in the 1960s, culminating in his famous essay 'Introduction to the Structural Analysis of Narratives' Barthes 1994 95-135 . The primary aim of structural analysis - practised not only by Barthes but also by other formalists and...

Theory Narrative Comprehension and Film

David Bordwell's Narration in the Fiction Film pioneered the cognitive theory of film, which flourished in the 1990s with books such as Joseph Anderson's The Reality of Illusion 1996 , Edward Branigan's Narrative Comprehension and Film 1992 , Gregory Currie's Image and Mind 1995 , Torben Grodal's Moving Pictures 1997 , Carl Plantinga and Greg Smith's eds Passionate Views 1999 , Murray Smith's Engaging Characters 1995 and Ed Tan's Emotion and the Structure of Narrative Film 1996 . These authors...

Theory Narration in the Fiction Film

In Narration in the Fiction Film David Bordwell develops a cognitive theory of film comprehension, which he explicitly opposes to a psychoanalytic theory of film. Psychoanalytic film theorists whom we discuss in Chapters 8 and 9 define the experience of reality as not being delimited by the horizon of consciousness or 'common sense' , but argue that it includes myth, ideology, and unconscious desires and fantasies. According to psychoanalysts, our consciousness is merely the tip or peak of our...

Freud and Lacan theory

What is a classic Freudian reading Although psychoanalysis has always been controversial and in recent years has been subject to devastating critiques, it continues to command support, in the humanities, and especially among literary scholars and film analysts. This is partly because, in many respects, psychoanalysis is in the mainstream tradition of Western hermeneutics, reaching back to biblical exegesis and Renaissance humanism. The most unacceptable part of psychoanalysis for contemporary...

Statistical style analysis method

In his Film Quarterly essay 'Statistical Style Analysis of Motion Pictures' 1974 , Barry Salt aimed to identify the individual style of a director by systematically collecting data on the formal parameters of films, particularly those formal parameters that are most directly under the director's control, including duration of the shot including the calculation of average shot length, or ASL strength of the cut measured in terms of the spatio-temporal displacement from one shot to the next ....

Method Z and film analysis

The first step in Barthes's post-structural analysis of the readerly text involves 'separating, in the manner of a minor earthquake, the blocks of signification of which reading grasps only the smooth surface, imperceptibly soldered by the movement of sentences, the flowing discourse of narration, the naturalness of ordinary language' p. 13 . Barthes goes on to call these blocks of signification 'lexias' and admits that 'this cutting up will be arbitrary in the extreme it will imply no...

The poetics of unlimited semiosis

The second method, as indicated, tries to take literally the mise-en-sc ne critics' focus on marginal details of a film's style and surface signs. By extending their passion for the oblique and the overlooked to its logical conclusion, we are adopting a deconstructive approach to a reading of this film, valorizing aspects that may initially escape the spectator but which will nonetheless appear to follow a certain logic. Both David Rodowick and Tom Conley have developed a deconstructive...

Analysis a feminist reading of The Silence of the Lambs

In several respects, The Silence of the Lambs lends itself to an analysis within the categories of the 'classical' or canonical story format the screenplay shows a clear three-act division, with introduction and coda the first act ends with Clarice's discovery at the Baltimore warehouse the second with the trick offer made to Hannibal by the FBI and the third with the showdown in Buffalo Bill's house the narrative moves are based on repetition resolution the successive encounters between...

The transnationalpostcolonialglobalization theme

Sharon Willis's remarks, along with Pfeil's point about the untranscendable horizon of post-classical or, in his terminology, postmodern cinema being that of transnational capitalism are well taken. If we are to look for a historical framework within which to place the tectonic plates and shifting surfaces of Die Hard's identity politics, the information economy of services, and the 'outsourcing' of manufacture to low-cost labour countries by multinational corporations on the one hand and the...

The sliding signifers

On a technical level, there's a lot to be said for Die Hard. It's when we get to some of the unnecessary adornments of the script that the movie shoots itself in the foot. Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times, 15 July 1988 In all likelihood Ebert intended to make a pun, but one wonders whether he did not speak truer than he knew. The film in any event seems to know, since it certainly fetishizes McClane's feet more intensely than almost any other part of his body, including his bare chest. Starting...

Analysis A Foucault reading

In a Foucault-inspired reading of The Silence of the Lambs, a central place would be occupied by the FBI as an institution externally dedicated to law enforcement and internally to disciplining its members and recruits. What is interesting about the figure of Clarice in this context is that her Oedipal trajectory masks a more fundamental and more paradoxical journey, namely one that signifies Agent Starling's successes killing Buffalo Bill, graduating from the FBI academy as also her failures....

Miseenscne criticism thematic criticism auteurism Chapters and

Perkins's claim that mise en sc ne as a film-making practice is dead, recent film critics have found it worthwhile to apply this concept to contemporary cinema. Adrian Martin distinguishes classical, expressionist and mannerist mise en sc ne, and argues that Perkins is simply lamenting the death of classical mise en sc ne although it has many adherents in contemporary film-making practice . The categories of expressionist, and mannerist mise en sc ne are added to cover new...

Statistical style analysis The English Patient

Data was recorded from the following five parameters of the shot over the first 30 minutes of The English Patient, shot length, shot scale, camera movement, camera direction, and camera angle. For comparative purposes, the same data were recorded from the first 30 minutes of Jurassic Park. Barry Salt has already argued that 30 minutes is a representative sample to analyse. To test this hypothesis, we shall compare the results of the statistical style analysis of the first 30 minutes of Jurassic...

Mse en Scne analysis The English Patient

The English Patient is a highbrow mega-movie that combines technical virtuosity with a large-scale story. The technical credits include veterans such as cinematographer John Seale ASC, ACS, whose credits include Witness 1985 , The Mosquito Coast 1986 , Gorillas in the Mist 1988 , Rain Man 1988 , Beyond Rangoon 1995 , City of Angels 1998 , and The Talented Mr Ripley 1999 and editor Walter Murch, ACE, who edited The Conversation 1974 , Apocalypse Now 1979 , Ghost 1990 , The Godfather, Part III...

Surface structure and deep structure

Much has been made in our classical analysis of the distinction between surface structure and deep structure. Yet these terms are merely spatial metaphors to direct attention to a disparity of dramatic movement, to a cognitive tension, or a difference in emotional patterning or intensity. In some ways, however, Die Hard behaves as if it knew about this purely heuristic distinction. For instance, it constantly alludes to its surface texture, by staging a quite extraordinary play on 'glass'. In...

Three exemplary scenes of the sliding signifier in Chinatown

We shall now examine three scenes in more detail. Two revolve around instances of purely verbal double entendres and puns, and the third is a combination of verbal punning and a sight-gag, rendered sombre by a more mythological reverberation, itself redolent with psychoanalytic symbolism. The first scene concerns the segment where Gittes drives up to the Mulwray mansion for the first time. Altogether three times Gittes tries to enter a space associated with Mulwray's life, and three times he is...

The logic of the actions macroanalysis

Thus, one way of tying these features together and understanding their concerted effect in creating the impression of unity and coherence within a classical narrative film is to study the logic of the actions what a character does, why s he does it, what goals or aims are being pursued, what obstacles are encountered. Classical narrative in this sense is the name for a particular kind of logic - notably a temporal, a spatial, and a causal logic, held together by an overall trust in the efficacy...

Introduction Freud Lacan and Zizek back to the future of symptomatic readings

This chapter begins by interpreting a Hollywood film from the 1980s within the framework of the Freudian model of psychoanalysis which is based on concepts such as the unconscious and repression, the Oedipus complex and the primal scene, primary process thinking and dream-work . It then considers the relevance to film studies of Lacanian psychoanalysis, which is centred on the relation between the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real in the formation of human subjectivity and is based on...

Rules governing the relation between the particular and the general

How do thematic critics move legitimately from the particular to the general That is, how can they make general values adhere to particular films One of the main problems with thematic meanings is their implicit status themes are not immediately 'visible' or self-evident, but must be inferred or generated from a film. In other words, a theme is a 'pragmatic' rather than a 'semantic' feature of a film. Whereas semanticists argue that meanings are embedded in messages, pragmatists argue that...

Miseenscne method

From the above 'theory' of mise en sc ne, we can begin to extract a method of analysis. David Bordwell has already begun to formalize the strategies of mise-en-sc ne criticism 1989, Ch. 8 , although here we shall go much further. Bordwell identifies in mise-en-sc ne criticism an implicit use of the 'bull's-eye schema' and two 'heuristics' the expressivist heuristic and the commentative heuristic. The term 'heuristic' refers to an informal strategy of reasoning that assists us in discovering...

Mnage trois and the sameframe heuristic

When Geoffrey and Katharine's plane arrives at the desert base camp of the Royal Geographical Society's team of map-makers who call themselves 'the International Sand Club' , the whole team travel in a truck to greet them. However, Alm sy remains behind with the truck and watches from afar. The same frame heuristic is relevant in describing this moment, as the whole team plus Katharine and Geoffrey are portrayed in one shot, and Alm sy is shown alone in another shot. Because he remains aloof,...

Zizek and the New Lacanians analysis Shame and humiliation

If we now once more look at Back to the Future, there are a number of features that might attract the attention of the New Lacanians. Foremost among them would be the figure of Biff. The curious relationship between him and Marty is that of antagonist and double, which explains Marty's over-identification with Biff and his role as Marty's nemesis. In more specifically izekian terms, what defines the relationship are, on the one hand, shame and humiliation and, on the other, 'obscene enjoyment',...

Theory classical Hollywood cinema

The debate around the distinction between classical and post-classical Hollywood is often conducted polemically. The question is usually put as is it still 'business as usual' in post-classical cinema, or do we need to change our vocabulary in order to 'do justice' to the movies made in Hollywood since the mid- to late 1970s One faction represented, for instance, by David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson argues that there is no need to change one's approach, insofar as even the contemporary...

Postclassical analysis Narrative structure

Perhaps the case for Die Hard as a post-classical film, Pfeil's remarks notwithstanding, is at its weakest when argued on the basis of its plot development, which follows quite straightforwardly the canonical three-act structure, centred on a male protagonist. However, as one goes through the act division once more, two features invite further comment one is the spacing and pacing of the violent action scenes that intersperse the unfolding of the drama, and the other is the fact that the...

Zizek and the New Lacanians theory

Although not a 'school', the New Lacanians are said to comprise Slavoj Zizek, Joan Copjec and Juliet Flower-MacCannell. They are, broadly speaking, united by a new concern with what has been called the 'ethics' of psychoanalysis and its contemporary political ramifications. According to James Mellard, the New Lacanians emphasize Lacan's late notions of drive, jouissance, and the real at the expense of his early concepts of desire, the imaginary, and the symbolic most are more interested in...

Analysis video game logic in The Fifth Element

Just as the filmic image is a hybrid between the photographic and the digital, the narrative in The Fifth Element is a hybrid between the classical psychologically motivated cause-effect narrative logic and digital video game logic. In the following we shall focus on those moments in the film when video logic becomes apparent. What is significant about The Fifth Element is the way the banal story and its transparent moral are structured and conveyed to spectators. In his discussion of the film...

Thematic criticism method

The starting point of thematic criticism is to look at a film obliquely, to determine what human values it is indirectly communicating. A useful way to begin identifying themes in a film is to keep in mind at the outset the common themes found in all forms of human communication, such as those listed by Bordwell above suffering, identity, alienation, the ambiguity of perception, the mystery of behaviour, freedom, religious doctrines, enlightenment, creativity, the imagination, etc. . Then...

Classical Hollywood narrative two possible models

When outlining some of the possible prototypes of the classical Hollywood narrative, two groups or families come to mind, both of them literary in inspiration one is derived from classical drama and the novel Aristotle's poetics, Russian formalism, G rard Genette the other from oral narratives such as myths, fairy tales, and the early picaresque novel L vi-Strauss, Propp, Bakhtin . In film studies, the first is associated with the canonical story structure as taught in screenwriters' manuals,...

Thematic analysis of Chinatown

In this section we shall focus on how Chinatown establishes the values of its main character Jake Gittes Jack Nicholson , and then explore two of the film's general themes. In the opening scene Jake Gittes, a private investigator who specializes in matrimonial issues, has handed over to Curly, a working-class male client, a set of photos of his wife having an affair with another man. As Curly gets more and more upset, trying to express his anger, Jake is shown to be laid back. He is in control...

Zizek and the New Lacanians method

Although Slavoj Zizek has over the past ten years published some 20 books many dealing with film examples, and some devoted to studies of individual directors, such as Hitchcock, Lynch, Kieslowski 1992 2000 , it is not easy to distil from his writings a transferable or transportable methodology. On the other hand, so distinctive is his approach, so recognizable is his style of argument, and so typical are the examples he chooses that one can as Stephen Heath has done speak of a 'Zizek film'...

Analysis SZ and The Fifth Element

Despite the importance and popularity of S Z in post-structural literary theory, it has rarely been applied to films, with the exception of Julia Lesage's analysis 1986 of Rules of the Game Jean Renoir, 1939 . Raymond Bellour also refers to the proairetic code, the hermeneutic code, and especially the symbolic code in his analysis of North by Northwest, although Barthes's terms are simply integrated into Bellour's more widely focused textual analysis see Bellour 2000 86-7 . However, Lesage...

Thematic criticism analysis Roman Polanski

One thematic analysis of Roman Polanski's films claims 'Polanski's work might be seen as an attempt to map out the precise relationship between the contemporary world's instability and tendency to violence and the individual's increasing inability to overcome his isolation and locate some realm of meaning or value beyond himself Telotte and McCarty 1998 388 . This analysis, although general, is nonetheless quite precise in its delineation of Polanski's themes. It does not simply state that...

The classical cinema some formal definitions

Implied in the cultural definitions above is the recognition that the Hollywood cinema's 'impression of reality', i.e. to pass off as natural something which is historical or ideological, is actually not so much a matter of how real that is which is being filmed the documentary value or veridical status of what is before the camera but how formally elaborated and how culturally ingrained the codes, norms, or conventions are that govern cinematic representation. It is not 'reality' that makes...

Narrative as syllogism the semiotic square

This psychic dilemma of the hero or ideological operation of the narrative can be described also in terms of formal logic or rhetorical strategy. Rather than presenting it as a simple opposition surface structure vs deep structure , of binary pairs male female white non-white American foreign , we could see John McClane's rational action unconscious desire in terms of a more three-dimensional, dynamic process, of which the narrative is the linear, sequential articulation, at the same time as it...

Film Theory On The Waterfront

Allen, Richard 1995 , Projecting Illusion Film Spectatorship and the Impression of Reality Cambridge Cambridge University Press . - 1997 , 'Looking at motion pictures', in Richard Allen and Murray Smith eds , Film Theory and Philosophy Oxford Clarendon Press 76-94. Altman, Rick 1980 , 'Moving lips cinema as ventriloquism', in R. Altman ed. , Sound and Cinema special issue, Yale French Studies, 60 67-79. Anderson, Joseph 1996 , The Reality of Illusion An Ecological Approach to Cognitive Film...

Conclusion

Have we, by thus deferring the elements of a classical reading from those of a post-classical reading, been able to answer either the question of spectacle vs narrative or to resolve the polemical opposition 'classical post-classicaP We started from the assertion that film scholars draw the boundary between classical and post-classical cinema as a function of their critical agendas, while the film itself as artefact and object does not, on the whole, predicate or demand a particular decision...

Theory

Films are analysable on the basis of their inherent form and structure. However, this structure is not immediately visible in itself. Instead, certain aspects of it become visible from within a certain theoretical perspective and other aspects become visible from other theoretical perspectives . Moreover, theoretical perspectives may overlap in incommensurate ways. In general, the aim of theory is to make visible the invisible structure that orders and confers intelligibility upon films. The...