what is film theory

Rather, it is a research tradition—one that originated in the 1980s with the work of a handful of scholars and today boasts a scholarly society, an annually held international conference, and … As technologies have progressed, contemporary film theory now looks at where and how we encounter cinema. Dziga Vertov was a Soviet theorist and an early documentarian. In film, camera placement can give new dramatic impact impossible in theatre. The simple mechanics of representation — what is shot and what is cut — intertwine with the filmmakers individual point of view. Literary Theory and Criticism English Literature, Literary Theory and Criticism, Linguistics, Film Theory, Ebooks, UGC NET JRF Preparation, Novel Analysis, Scholarly Articles Nasrullah Mambrol Film theory is a scholarly pursuit, which attempts to explain the essence of what film is. Film theory is a set of scholarly approaches within the academic discipline of film or cinema studies that began in the 1920s by questioning the formal essential attributes of motion pictures; and that now provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. He was a proponent of documentary and Italian Neo-realism and was a founder and long-time editor of Cahiers Du Cinéma. You have entered an incorrect email address! Feminist film theory has emerged in the past 20 years to become a large and flourishing field. What is Film Theory? In the USA, the theory was based on sociological theory, with a focus on the function of female characters within the narratives/genres of films. This book is a lively and provoking introduction to film theory. Truffaut dedicated the film to his friend and mentor, André Bazin. But what exactly is it? Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. This perspective holds that although others, such as the screenwriter and the cinematographer, are major creative forces, the director has final authority. Marxism, Semiotics, Narratology: Film School Isn't What It Used to Be, One Father Discovers, "David Bordwell Blows the Whistle on Film Studies", "Critical Cinema: Beyond the Theory of Practice", Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television, New Review of Film and Television Studies, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Film_theory&oldid=997312670, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 30 December 2020, at 23:14. Partner with us to reach an enthusiastic audience of students, enthusiasts and professional videographers and filmmakers. 5 Famous directors and what we can learn from them, Why Kathryn Bigelow is a trailblazing director, The ins and outs of being a video producer, How to create funny videos to make your audience laugh, Here’s why Quentin Tarantino is the filmmaker’s filmmaker, What’s Your Story: Developing the Story in Documentary. His ideas have been influential with the Cinéma Vérité movement. With this, Marxist filmmakers use jump cuts and jarring edits to avoid suspension of disbelief within their audience. Usually, it also looks at how film affects/is affected by the individual viewer as well as society as a whole. On the whole, editing provides new context and meaning through juxtaposing images. So, they analysed the mechanisms at play, which could provide meaning and impact for the viewer. He holds a BA in Film Production from CSU Sacramento, a grad certificate in Screenwriting from UCLA, and is currently an MFA candidate at the USC School of Cinematic Arts. You can find film theorists among the ranks of filmmakers, critics and philosophers. Here’s what you need to know. [5] These thinkers emphasized how film differed from reality and how it might be considered a valid art form. To summarize, some theories contradict each other, while others work together. He was a particularly harsh critic. She called for a new female avant-garde film movement to counter the patriarchy of classic Hollywood Cinema. Sight and Sound ranked Man with a Movie Camera as the 8th best film ever made. Auteur Theory is a way of looking at films that state that the director is the “author” of a film. In short, it both reflects and provides commentary on the society it came from. François Truffaut was a French critic, theorist, and filmmaker known for proposing the basis of the Auteur Theory. As technologies have progressed, contemporary film theory now looks at where and how we encounter cinema. The French word auteur literally translates to the english, “author.” Within the context of cinema, the word auteur is used to describe a director who exerts a high level of control across all aspects of a film. Much of this early theory emphasized film as different than reality. NeoFormalism is a push back towards looking at the very elements that make up a film and a rejection of the over-reliance on symbolism in modern theory. Its dominant approach, exemplifed by such journals as Screen and Camera Obscura, involves a theoretical combination of semiotics, Althusserian Marxism, and Lacanian psychoanalysis. Film Theory The simplest conceptualization of the gas-liquid transfer process is attributed to Nernst (1904). He was particularly interested in the power of montage to create meaning and emotional impact. Key characteristics of formalism is the theoretical and critical emphasis on form. [10] From the 1990s onward the Matrixial theory of artist and psychoanalyst Bracha L. Ettinger[11] revolutionized feminist film theory. Film theory is a set of scholarly approaches within the academic discipline of film or cinema studies that began in the 1920s by questioning the formal essential attributes of motion pictures;[1] and that now provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. Dulac started out as an Impressionist, and her film La Coquille et le Clergyman has been regarded as the first Surrealist film. Theorists began exploring the differences between the representation of digital technologies vs the indexical images of analogue celluloid. The theory argues that a film is ultimately a reflection of the director’s vision; so, a film by a given filmmaker will feature recognizable, recurring themes and visual tropes that allow a viewer to observe a consistent artistic identity throughout the director’s body of work. There has been a refocus onto celluloid film's ability to capture an "indexical" image of a moment in time by theorists like Mary Ann Doane, Philip Rosen and Laura Mulvey who was informed by psychoanalysis. In brief, film theory is a way to think about the elements of film. These theories are like lenses through which you can view film. outlines the discipline's key theoretical concepts, perspectives, and traditions, and critically examines the assertions posited by exemplary film theorists and philosophers of film. Formalist Film Theory looks at the technical aspects of film — shots, editing, lighting, sound. On the whole, this article will give a brief understanding of the history of film theory and some of the major schools of thought within film theory. Film theory first began when filmmakers were first trying to understand their medium. Videomaker is always looking for talented, qualified writers. outlines the discipline's key theoretical concepts, perspectives, and traditions, and critically examines the assertions posited by exemplary film theorists and philosophers of film. It is suitable for students from any discipline but is particularly aimed at students studying film and literature as it examines issues common to both subjects such as realism, illusionism, narration, point of view, style, semiotics, psychoanalysis and multiculturalism. In the years after World War II, the French film critic and theorist André Bazin reacted against this approach to the cinema, arguing that film's essence lay in its ability to mechanically reproduce reality, not in its difference from reality. In short, it both reflects and provides commentary on the society it came from. Film theory recognizes the cinema as a distinct art form. Click here to contact a sales representative and request a media kit. He deeply examined the power of placing juxtaposing shots together to create an idea or feeling in his audience that was greater than either image would have alone. New theories explore spectatorship and the collective experience of cinema. High quality Film Theory gifts and merchandise. This is a small selection of notable theorists and is by no means comprehensive. See also individual directors, such as François Truffaut and Sergey Eisenstein; His 1925 film Battleship Potemkin received acclaim worldwide and is still used in film schools to show the power of montage. [2] Film theory is not to be confused with general film criticism, or film history, though these three disciplines interrelate. It was a series of choices that had artistic relevance in the terms of choices that could be made in shots and other film aspects. 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. Thus, formalists are concerned about how these elements work (or do not work) to create impact on the viewer. The first is thatfilm scholars who are not professional philosophers have made manycontributions to the field. Consequently, it also allows a film to manipulate the viewers’ understanding of space and time. "What is Film Theory?" Theory Where did the male gaze come from? The first, beginning in the late 1960s and early 1970s, focused on a formal critique of cinema’s dissemination of ideology, and especially on the role of the cinematic apparatus in this process. If you have a great idea you’d like to share with our readers, send it to editor@videomaker.com. Gledhill, Christine; and Linda Williams, editors. Apparatus Theory states that film is unavoidably ideological in nature. This resulted in the New Wave, Cinema Vérité, and renewed interest in experimental and avant-garde films. Auteur theory is a lens for looking at cinema that posits that the director is the “author” of a film. What is the male gaze? Structuralism focuses on recurring themes as well as the use of signs, symbols, and conventions to interpret film. [7] However, not until the late 1980s or early 1990s did film theory per se achieve much prominence in American universities by displacing the prevailing humanistic, auteur theory that had dominated cinema studies and which had been focused on the practical elements of film writing, production, editing and criticism.[8]. In this framework, men are active participants in the world and women are objects that matter only so far as their relationship to men. French philosopher Henri Bergson's Matter and Memory (1896) anticipated the development of film theory during the birth of cinema in the early twentieth century. However, in his 1906 essay L'illusion cinématographique (in L'évolution créatrice; English: The cinematic illusion) he rejects film as an example of what he had in mind. While physicists often write about thephilosophy of science, the academic discipline of the philosophy ofphysics is dominated by professional philosophers… He was talking to famed director and film theory pioneer, François Truffaut, in front of an audience and he told Truffautto pretend there was a bomb under the table. Germaine Dulac was an early French filmmaker and film theorist. [6], In the 1960s and 1970s, film theory took up residence in academia importing concepts from established disciplines like psychoanalysis, gender studies, anthropology, literary theory, semiotics and linguistics—as advanced by scholars such as Christian Metz. [18] The matrixial gaze offers the female the position of a subject, not of an object, of the gaze, while deconstructing the structure of the subject itself, and offers border-time, border-space and a possibility for compassion and witnessing. Her work has revolutionized the state of feminist film theory by introducing the concept of ‘The Matriaxial Gaze’ which finds women as the subject, instead of the object, but also deconstructs the structure of the subject itself. Film theory is an academic discipline that aims to explore the essence of the cinema and provides conceptual frameworks for understanding film's relationship to reality, the other arts, individual viewers, and society at large. Despite the fact that the Marxist Film Theory, being the oldest body of film theories, the Marxist ideas and ideals is dubbed as like a bane to the enterprise mandated by the cinema trade of the United States of America, however, the standpoint of Marxist Film Theory materializes itself in a myriad of American motion pictures. All orders are custom made and most ship worldwide within 24 hours. The Film Theory in Practice series fills a gaping hole in the world of film theory by marrying the explanation of film theory with an interpretation of a film. Bracha Ettinger is an Isreali-born, contemporary French film theorist. All the latest video techniques and gear reviews, sent straight to your inbox. In Critical Cinema: Beyond the Theory of Practice (2011), Clive Meyer suggests that 'cinema is a different experience to watching a film at home or in an art gallery', and argues for film theorists to re-engage the specificity of philosophical concepts for cinema as a medium distinct from others.[20]. Thus, filmmakers wanted to understand what was different about movies. His film Man with a Movie Camera is a classic of documentary filmmaking. Like Kuleshov, Eisenstein believed that editing was the essential aspect that set film apart. Bazin argued that what made cinema its own art form was its ability to capture reality. Early film theory arose in the silent era and was mostly concerned with defining the crucial elements of the medium. She later became interested in the non-narrative movement known as Cinéma Pur. Truffaut is known as one of the founders of the French New Wave movement. [12][13] Her concept The Matrixial Gaze,[14] that has established a feminine gaze and has articulated its differences from the phallic gaze and its relation to feminine as well as maternal specificities and potentialities of "coemergence", offering a critique of Sigmund Freud's and Jacques Lacan's psychoanalysis, is extensively used in analysis of films[15][16] by female authors, like Chantal Akerman,[17] as well as by male authors, like Pedro Almodovar. This differentiates this area from many otherphilosophical disciplines. Simply put, formalism focuses heavily on how the style of a production communicates an intended message. He felt that what made film unique was the ability to show objective reality using long-takes, deep focus and misé en scene. Originally focused on depictions of women in cinema, Feminist Theory critiques The Male Gaze. Critics also examined the stereotypes women were depicted as in films. Sergei Eisenstein was a Soviet filmmaker and theorist heavily concerned with montage. Ettinger's notions articulate the links between aesthetics, ethics and trauma. A step-by-step approach to these issues guides the reader through the central topics of film theory. See synonyms for film theory noun The field of study concerned with the evaluation and analysis of films, often incorporating concepts from other disciplines, such as philosophy, politics, literary theory… "Philosophy of Film" by Thomas Wartenberg – first published 2004; substantive revision m 2008. Psychoanalytic film theory occurred in two distinct waves. NeoFormalism also points out that art is not simply symbolism because, art often asks the viewer to look at familiar objects and concepts through new lenses. Auteur directors generally have a distinctive style from film-to-film and often fill other roles besides directing including: writing, editing, and sometimes acting in their own films. Film theory sometimes seems difficult and complicated, but fundamentally it’s a range of different tools that you can use to explain how film works. Rudolph Arnheim's film theory "Film as Art" Arnheim believed that film was not just a mechanical representation of life. With the advancements in film throughout the years feminist film theory has developed and changed to analyse the current ways of film and also go back to analyse films past. Additionally, after WWII there was a shift in film theory towards the uniqueness of film to perfectly capture and record reality. All in all, Feminist Film Theory, Queer Theory, and many other branches of film theory were solidified during this era. Mulvey brought the concept of ‘the male gaze’ to the forefront of feminist theory in her 1973 essay, Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema. Feminist film theory mostly began in two places. But what if the audience knew … The “ author ” of a few major film theorists among the ranks of filmmakers, and. A lens for looking at films that state that the director ultimately is the film to the field viewers find! Towards the uniqueness of film for filmmakers, theory allows viewers to find new levels of meaning within.!, deep focus and misé en scene have made manycontributions to the field, like predecessor! Progressed in the 1920s focused on the society it came from role in creating heterosexual social norms et le has... Technical aspects of film on the camera and the edit as what is film theory 8th best film ever made '' Thomas. 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