Structure Of The Book

The book is divided into four main sections covering Cinema as Institution, Film as Text, Critical Approaches to Film, and Film Movements and National Cinemas.

Part 1 (Cinema as Institution) examines cinema in relation to the social context within which it operates, in particular the interaction between the cinema as an industry and the audience. It considers the determining factors behind film form, paying particular attention to the industrial and economic basis of commercial cinema, particularly its business and profit motives. Its principal focus is Hollywood, but not to the exclusion of other cinemas.

Part 2 (Film as Text) provides an introduction to the basic terms of visual communication and perception as well as to the technical terms specific to cinema. In doing so, it begins to analyse how images and sounds produce and communicate meaning.

Part 3 (Critical Approaches to Film) examines the major critical approaches towards understanding film and aims to discover the complex relationship between film as text, cinema as institution, and the audience. The chequered history of theories about how individual spectators 'read' films is also considered.

Finally, Part 4 (Film Movements and National Cinemas) explores other forms of cinema outside Hollywood that have been vital to the development of film. It looks at the range of different cultural and institutional contexts for cinema and seeks to understand the different, sometimes explicitly oppositional forms of film associated with them.

A note on one or two conventions and other choices about usage which we have adopted for this text. English language titles are given first (except where the meaning of the foreign title should be evident), as well as the original titles in most cases; directors and dates are given for most films. We have decided to use the word 'film' to refer both to individual films and to the celluloid, the material of the original medium. The term 'movie' is used sparingly, principally in reference to particularly American contexts. The Glossary explains some key terms.

The future for Film Studies? Although there is an emerging discipline, 'Screen Studies' -the objects of which include TV, video, video games and whatever happens on a monitor screen as well as film itself - Film Studies will surely remain relevant and must surely inform the new Screen Studies. To be sure, rapid changes in production and projection technologies and viewing contexts are now evident, and these are addressed at a number of points in this volume.

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Cinema as Institution

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