Film Theory and Criticism
Film Theory and Criticism: 2. May 1968 and Beyond
Second Edition 2005
Beginning in the mid-1950s with the work of the Cahiers du cinéma writers the notion of film authorship gained wide critical currency (see, e.g. , Truffaut). This shift was precipitated most notably by a short, influential essay by Alexandre Astruc published in Écran française in 1948 entitled "La Caméra-Stylo" ( "The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo," 1968). What came to be known as the auteur theory was later imported to North America in the 1960s via the critical writings of Andrew Sarris and his reappraisal of Hollywood cinema. Almost as quickly as it was adopted, however, auteurism came under attack for both its highly subjective, taste-based approach to understanding cinema and also for its insufficiency as a theoretical method of understanding film as simultaneously industrial practice, technology, sociocultural artifact, and art. Attempts to combine auteurism with the theoretical rigor of structuralism and semiotics in the work of Peter Wollen and Will Wright represented a strand of film theory at this time that was both a part of its gradual entry into the field of academic study in the postwar era and reflective of the huge shift in film theory and criticism that took place as a result of structuralist/semiotic debates in the late 1950s and 1960s.
The most significant transformation in film theory during this period was undoubtably connected to the events of May 1968 and the politicization of film studies that took place as a result of widespread student and union protests in France at this time, a detailed summary of which is provided by Sylvia Harvey. Cahiers du cinéma quickly changed its auteurist emphasis and began a reassessment of cinema largely in ideological terms, a shift marked with the publication of Jean-Luc Comolli and Jean Narboni’s "Cinéma/Ideologie/Critique" (1969, "Cinema/Ideology/Criticism"). The Comolli-Narboni piece took issue with Godard’s then-recent statement regarding his desire to stop working within the system of mainstream, capitalist practice. They argued that every film must be interpreted as political insofar as it is determined by the ideology that produced it and indeed must invariably support industry and capitalism to some degree, since film stock is produced by large, multinational corporations. Comolli and Narboni’s famous categorization of films provided a way of grouping films according to the degree to which they conformed to or criticized dominant ideology on a formal and/or thematic level, an enterprise displayed by the much-cited Cahiers article on Young Mr. Lincoln (1969). In these essays and elsewhere on the pages of Cahiers, Althusserian Marxism became the dominant approach to understanding cinema as inextricably bound to the economic and hence to the ideological systems from which it emerges.
While Hollywood cinema remained an important object of analysis for Cahiers through the 1970s, what had begun as André Bazin’s literary child changed dramatically from a largely auteurist to a politically charged journal. The other major French film journal at the time, Cinéthique, formed in 1969, took a more radical Marxist perspective and abandoned the study of narrative cinema altogether, championing more marginal cinemas such as documentary and avant-garde. In Britain, Screen magazine was also indelibly marked by this discursive shift and similarly foregrounded ideological discussion and debate. Among the many transformations that this shift created was more extensive attention to "other" cinemas in a theoretical tradition that had been devoted almost exclusively to the study of dominant, narrative material. For example, a series of articles on the post-1968 work of Jean-Luc Godard by Brian Henderson published in Film Quarterly in 1970 and 1971 demonstrated the ways in which that filmmaker’s highly politicized nonnarrative or essayistic work of the period foregrounds the inability of classical film theory to suffice as an explanatory model. This, by implication, opened the door to the theorization of other kinds of film practice.
Another important by-product of the shift to Althusserian Marxism at this time evolved from Louis Althusser’s incorporation of Lacanian psychoanalysis. Indeed, jacques lacan’s mirror stage became a privileged object in film studies. In a highly influential essay published first in 1970 in Cinéthique, "Effets idéologiques de l’appareil de base" (translated in Film Quarterly 1974–75 as "Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematic Apparatus"), Jean-Louis Baudry developed the mirror analogy as a way of rethinking perspective in cinema and its ideological implications. Renaissance and post-Renaissance perspective begin to speak the language of bourgeois ideology, Baudry argues, through the adoption of greater realism, more secular subject matter, and an increasingly marked individualism of style. More importantly, the system of perspective based on convergence toward a vanishing point, indicating a single, unique vantage point in the imaginary space outside of the work from which content was perceived, supports an individualistic bourgeois subject position. This historical interpretation of perspective gets adapted to theories of the cinematic apparatus by offering the film spectator an omniscient unitary point of view, thus reinforcing the bourgeois notion of the subject as a free individual. This "subject effect" produced by the cinema became a topic of extensive debate framed under the rubric "apparatus theory" in the writings of Stephen Heath, Teresa de Lauretis, and Christian Metz, among others.
For example, after his provocative but ultimately unsatisfactory foray into a rigorous application of semiotics to cinema, Essais sur la signification au cinéma (1968, Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema, 1974), Christian Metz took up Baudry’s model for his combined semiotic-psychoanalytic approach to cinema in a series of essays written between 1973 and 1976 published together as Le Signifiant imaginaire (1977, The Imaginary Signifier, 1982). In these essays, particularly the one that inspires the book’s title, Metz attempted to create a metapsychology of the cinema, arguing that film mobilizes techniques of the imaginary and engages processes of the unconscious more than does any other artistic medium. Indeed, Metz says that unlike literary or pictorial arts, whose signifiers preexist the imaginative work of the reader or viewer, films themselves only come into being through the fictive work of their spectators. Moreover, cinema does not offer perceptions belonging to the same time and space as the audience, but representations of what is absent. Thus, Metz argues, "every film is a fiction film" (Imaginary 44), since the actors, the decor, the words one hears, and even the cinematic signifier itself (the recorded, rolled up, celluloid strip) are absent. According to Metz, these characteristics demonstrate the degree to which film is like a mirror. The viewing state activates the imaginary scene/mirror stage insofar as it activates an ideal, imaginary sense of self, though it differs from the primordial mirror in one essential way: the spectator’s own body is never reflected on the screen.
Another provocative strand of psychoanalysis applied to film theory through the 1970s was the concept of suture. From an idea first introduced by Jacques-Alain Miller in 1966 and then reconsidered and imported into film theory by Jean-Pierre Oudart in 1969, suture became a topic of extensive debate for the ways in which subjectivity gets conferred in cinema in the context of issues of the gaze. Subsequent articles in English, such as Daniel Dayan’s influential exposition of Oudart’s position in 1974, William Rothman’s critique of that position in 1975, as well as Stephen Heath’s explication of the concept in Questions of Cinema (1981)and Kaja Silverman’s analysis in The Subject of Semiotics (1983)set the terms of the debate.
Laura Mulvey takes up some similar points regarding suture, the Lacanian mirror phase, and narrativity but also returns to some more classically Freudian concepts in her application of psychoanalysis to the cinema. In a highly influential piece entitled "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" (1975), first published in Screen, Mulvey addressed the way in which cinema mobilizes primary processes that reflect the gendered nature of narrative and point of view. She asserts that "the unconscious of patriarchy has structured film form" in such a way that narcissistic identification coheres around an active male protagonist who is defined by his capacity to look (as a voyeur), whereas the female is defined in terms of her capacity to attract the male gaze (as an exhibitionist). While the active/passive and male/female dichotomies proved to be deeply problematical to many theorists, as was Mulvey’s failure to offer a theory of female spectatorship, this essay became the catalyst for the most substantial challenges to psychoanalytic film theory from both those in favor of and those who rejected the application of psychoanalysis to cinema. Mulvey later revised her original argument in “Afterthoughts on Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema Inspired by Duel in the Sun” (1981), though the limitation of her attempt to theorize female spectatorship appeared to lead to a theoretical impasse.
Using earlier 1970s work dealing with feminist critiques of stereotypes and representational analysis by various feminist theorists—Claire Johnston, Pam Cook, Molly Haskell, Joan Mellon, and Marjorie Rosen— Mary Ann Doane attempted in "Film and the Masquerade: Theorizing the Female Spectator" (1982)to move beyond Mulvey’s ideas to develop a provocative theory of female spectatorship in relation to Joan Riviere’s ideas of masquerade. In works ranging from Doane’s examination of the woman’s film in The Desire to Desire (1987)to Teresa de Lauretis’s Alice Doesn’t: Feminism, Semiotics, Cinema (1984)and Technologies of Gender (1987), Tania Modleski’s reassessment of Hitchcock’s work in The Women Who Knew Too Much (1988), Constance Penley’s The Future of an Illusion (1989), E. Ann Kaplan’s edited anthology Psychoanalysis and Cinema (1990), as well as an issue of the American feminist film journal Camera Obscura devoted to "The Spectratrix" (1989), Laura Mulvey’s speculations clearly laid the foundation for the scaffolding of ideas that would develop differentially around theories of gendered spectatorship in film theory.
For example, Gaylyn Studlar offers an alternative model of psychoanalytic film theory to the one posed by Mulvey and others through her appropriation of Gilles Deleuze’s text Présentation de Sacher-Masoch, le froid et le cruel (1967, Masochism: An Interpretation of Coldness and Cruelty, trans. Jean McNeil, 1971)in which he recasts Freud’s theory of masochism (see gilles deleuze and félix guattari). Via Deleuze’s critique of the complementarity of sadism and masochism, Studlar theorizes spectatorship as rooted in a pre-Oedipal, masochistic desire aligned with the maternal body. In The Realm of Pleasure: Von Sternberg, Dietrich, and the Masochistic Aesthetic (1988)she sees cinematic pleasure as much closer to masochistic scopic pleasure than to the sadistic, controlling pleasure privileged by both Mulvey and Metz. In a somewhat related vein, Kaja Silverman addresses male masochism in relation to theories of spectatorship in Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992), building on her earlier exploration of the subject in "Masochism and Subjectivity" (1980)and "Male Subjectivity and Celestial Suture" (1981). Male Subjectivity at the Margins is of particular interest for the way in which Silverman reworks psychoanalytic theories of masochism in tandem with recent work on masculinity and the male body. Her argument revolves around the ways in which subjectivity is always a refraction of racial, sexual, and class politics by studying texts as symptomatic expressions of collective social fantasy. Silverman shifts feminist film theory toward a psychoanalysis of the social, thereby expanding the theoretical reach of previous work.
Psychoanalytic film theory also gets redirected in ways that begin to pay attention to sound in cinema, beginning with Doane’s analysis of sound, borrowing ideas from Pascal Bonitzer ( "Les Silences de la voix") in "The Voice in Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space" (1980), and continuing with Kaja Silverman’s Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema (1988)and Amy Lawrence’s Echo and Narcissus: Women’s Voices in Classical Hollywood Cinema (1991). Claudia Gorbman’s translation of Michel Chion’s essays in Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen (1994)also offers a significant contribution to the sound world of cinema, synthesizing and expanding on this French theorist’s previous (untranslated) work on sound and cinema.
The study of film music has also revealed important attempts to explain this relatively undertheorized aspect of the cinematic experience. While a 1947 book coauthored by theodor w. adorno and Hanns Eisler has continued to be reprinted and cited over the years, Royal S. Brown, Caryl Flinn, Claudia Gorbman, and Kathryn Kalinak have published work analyzing, from a range of perspectives, film music’s varied function in relation to classical Hollywood cinema as well as more contemporary European art films. Flinn’s book, Strains of Utopia, combines a poststructuralist blend of Marxist, feminist, and psychoanalytic perspectives to consider the discursive, institutional, and subjective context of Hollywood film music and to "concentrate heavily upon the generic and spectatorial issues involved in shaping this utopia" (11). In Unheard Melodies Claudia Gorbman also situates film music within the terrain of contemporary theory, proposing its two "overarching roles" as the semiotic concept of anchorage (from roland barthes) and the psychoanalytic concept of suture.
One significant strand of film theory that has frequently criticized the explanatory value of psychoanalytic film theory, so dominant in the 1970s and early 1980s, is work on race and representation. Building from ideas on the gaze in feminist film theory, Jane Gaines argues that since psychoanalysis has taken gender as its starting point in the analysis of oppressions, feminist film theory has helped to reinforce white middle-class values. As she argues in "White Privilege and Looking Relations: Race and Gender in Feminist Film Theory" (1986), the structure of relations under slavery have radically different implications for historical, patriarchal configurations of race, since black men could hardly embody the traditional patriarchal position accorded the white male, nor were slaves allowed the traditional sociocultural experience of family, thereby problematizing the Oedipal paradigm and other psychoanalytic structures of subjectivity. In "Black Spectatorship: Problems of Identification and Resistance" (1988)Mantia Diawara argues that the racialized gaze in cinema is a resistant one, while bell hooks calls the black female gaze in cinema oppositional in Black Looks: Race and Representation (1992). In White (1997)Richard Dyer brings together a series of essays that examine the ways in which "whiteness" has been set up to function as a nonracialized human norm by interrogating and problematizing white racial imagery.
Work on race and representation is part of a broader shift to postcolonial studies that has permeated so many areas of academic study over the past decade, including film theory. To be sure, an important demonstration of the relation between these fields is demonstrated by the work of frantz fanon, whose ideas, including some direct, early discussion of film spectatorship and issues of race in Peau noire, masques blancs (1952, Black Skin, White Masks, trans. Charles Lan Markmann, 1967), continue to have a significant impact on issues of race, postcoloniality, and historiography. In Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multiculturalism and the Media (1994)Ella Shohat and Robert Stam argue that Eurocentrism, like Renaissance perspective in painting, envisions the world from a single privileged point. This text, like feminist and race-based theory, works as a form of adversary scholarship that critiques the universalization of Eurocentric norms, a stance that necessarily entails rethinking and repositioning Hollywood cinema as the model for all discussion and theorization of film. This decentering of the discussion, a shift facilitated by the proliferation of work (including work in newer, cheaper video technologies) by diasporic communities throughout the West and beyond, calls attention to other traditions, other cinemas, and other audiovisual forms.
A logical progression from the emphasis on feminist theory and the depiction of femininity in cinema has been work on masculinity. Beginning with an influential essay by Steven Neale, "Masculinity as Spectacle: Reflections on Men and Mainstream Cinema" (originally published in Screen in 1983), a veritable industry of anthologies on masculinity was published in the 1990s, including Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark’s Screening the Male: Exploring Masculinities in Hollywood Cinema (1993), Pat Kirkham and Janet Thumin’s You Tarzan: Masculinity, Movies, and Men (1993), and Peter Lehman’s Running Scared: Masculinity and the Representation of the Male Body (1993), along with Susan Jeffords’s Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era (1994)and Steven Cohan’s Masked Men: Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties (1997). Chris Holmlund combines analysis of both genders in Impossible Bodies: Femininity and Masculinity at the Movies (2002). In essays that incorporate star analysis, discourse theory, spectatorship, genre criticism, sexuality, race, psychoanalysis, and aesthetics, this material often takes feminist work (frequently Laura Mulvey) as a catalyst for examining various "masculinities" in cinema.
Another example of the interpenetration of cultural studies and film theory shows up in the spate of work on gay, lesbian, and queer media over the past decade. From earlier work grounded in critiques of stereotypes and representational issues, such as Parker Tyler’s Screening the Sexes: Homosexuality in the Movies (1972), Vito Russo’s The Celluloid Closet (1985), Richard Dyer’s edited anthology Gays and Film (1977), and a special issue of Jump Cut devoted to lesbians and film (1981), a broad range of material has been published combining historiography, genre analysis, gender studies, queer theory, and postcolonial studies. Anthologies edited by Martha Gever, John Greyson, and Pratibha Parmar (Queer Looks: Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Film and Video, 1993), Corey Creekmur and Alexander Doty (Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian, and Queer Essays on Popular Culture, 1995), and Tamsin Wilton (Immortal Invisible: Lesbians and the Moving Image, 1995) demonstrate the range and vitality of this field, which has coincided with the proliferation and critical recognition of gay/lesbian/queer film and video over the last ten years. Such work includes both an examination of recent and historical presentations of gays/lesbians/queers and a reassessment or queer reading of traditional mainstream texts. (See gay theory and critcism: 3. queer theory.)
For example, in studies of the horror genre that move beyond its analysis strictly in terms of gender, Rhona Berenstein (Attack of the Leading Ladies, 1996) and Harry Benshoff (Monsters in the Closet, 1997) examine different manifestations of sexual deviance. Whereas Berenstein focuses on a specific series of Hollywood films produced between 1931 and 1936 and how they demonstrate the precarious nature of reproductive sexuality, Benshoff presents a view of images of monstrosity and queerness in the genre from classical Hollywood to the present. In Making Things Perfectly Queer (1993)and, more recently, Flaming Classics: Queering the Film Canon (2000)Alexander Doty examines a range of film and television texts to find "expressions of queer perspectives on mass culture from the inside, rather than descriptive analysis of how ‘they’ (gays and/or lesbians, usually) respond to, use, or are depicted in mass culture" (Making 3). Such work conforms to much of queer theory’s attempt to interrogate and expand the concept of normal by moving beyond identity-laden quests seeking to uncover what homosexuality (and heterosexuality) mean per se to an exploration of the kinds of performance, display, and talk that make sexuality as queer as it is. In this vein, Chris Straayer’s Deviant Eyes, Deviant Bodies: Sexual Re-Orientation in Film and Video (1996)provides a fascinating and provocative synthesis of feminist and queer theory in its examination of a broad range of cultural production. Between the Sheets, In the Streets: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Documentary (1997), coedited by Chris Holmlund and Cynthia Fuchs, is an equally important reassessment of documentary theory and history in light of these trends.
The diversity of these texts demonstrates the extent to which academic study has shifted to cultural studies from film theory in its strictest sense. Indeed, the problem of how we define "theory" per se forms the basis for Noël Carroll’s critique of much of this cultural studies–based work. In Mystifying Movies: Fads and Fallacies in Contemporary Film Theory and Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory(both 1988) Carroll defines theory strictly as a coherent and axiomatic set of statements that can both explain events and foresee them. He uses this definition to justify the critique of much of the film theory canon, preferring a model of analytic theory from philosophy as the basis of his work, including Theorizing the Moving Image (1996)and A Philosophy of Mass Art (1998). Carroll is among a significant cluster of film theoreticians who are antagonistic to the dominance of what is frequently called SLAB theory in cinema studies, based on the theories of ferdinand de saussure, Lacan, Althusser, and Barthes. In an anthology Carroll coedited with David Bordwell entitled Post Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies (1996)various authors take issue with what they call the "Grand Theories" that had come to dominate cinema studies through the 1960s and 1970s, most especially semiotics, cultural studies, and psychoanalysis.
In his essay in this collection, "Contemporary Film Studies," Bordwell attempts to map out a brief history of the discipline in order to point out the incoherence, trendiness. and general lack of solid intellectual grounding of much recent theory. His own work is grounded in both neoformalism and cognitive theory (Narration in the Fiction Film, 1985). His approach provides a template for analyzing the form in which events in a film are presented, including plot (sujet) and story (fabula), while cognitivism addresses cinematic representation in the mental activities of the spectator, who uses mental schemata to process audiovisual data in order to construct narrative meaning. Edward Branigan employs a cognitivist approach beginning with Point of View in the Cinema (1984)and Narrative Comprehension and Film (1992), as does Gregory Currie in Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science (1995). Also worthy of note is work dealing with point-of-view structures, including Bruce Kawin’s Mindscreen (1978)and Maureen Turim’s Flashbacks in Film (1989).
Recent anthologies on film theory attempt to show the diversity of the field, including A Companion to Film Theory (1999)and Film and Theory: An Anthology (2000), both coedited by Toby Miller and Robert Stam. For example, A Companion to Film Theory incorporates authors from diverse backgrounds that criss-cross cinema studies and literature, communications, anthropology, philosophy, sociology, and education. As Miller states, the authors "come from five continents, as part of our desire to push the field further toward deprovincialization" (3). A small sample of the ideas covered includes authorship, genre, cognitivism, psychoanalysis, class/cultural studies, ethnographic media, and historical, neoformalist poetics. In one of the most lucid and informed overviews of the field, Film Theory: An Introduction (2000), Stam offers a chronology of film theory from the birth of cinema to the present day. This book, in tandem with Teorie del cinema, 1945–1990 (1993, Theories of Cinema, 1945–1995, rev. and enlarged ed., 1999), by Francesco Casetti, offers a provocative analysis of the expanding field that is currently characterized by a multiplicity of models and pursuits rather than by one overarching trend. Cassetti’s comprehensive text is divided into three sections. Part 1 deals with ontological debates about the nature of the medium, largely during the 1950s; part 2 deals with methodological approaches, including psychology, sociology, semiotics, and psychoanalysis; and part 3, which he refers to as "field theories," includes political/ideological models, the critique of representation, feminism, psychoanalysis, neodisciplinary tendencies (including cognitivism and enunciation, Cassetti’s area of expertise), and historiography, extending the critical domain beyond the usual French, British, and American theorists to include, most pointedly, a number of Italians.
Interestingly, and despite its detractors, psychoanalytic theory has continued to be redressed and reexamined in important ways. Work by Joan Copjec, Teresa de Lauretis, Laura Mulvey, Kaja Silverman, Elizabeth Cowie, and Slavoj Žižek continues to revise and expand the explanatory capacity of that discourse, often making links with other useful theoretical paradigms along the way. Work on documentary by Bill Nichols, Brian Winston, and Michael Renov, to name a few, is pushing theoretical ideas about the nature of nonfiction film studies in relation to issues of realism, epistophilia, performativity, and desire. Paula Rabinowitz makes a compelling argument for the centrality of gender to documentary studies in They Must Be Represented: The Politics of Documentary (1994). And another publication from the Visible Evidence series, Feminism and Documentary (1999), coedited by Diane Waldman and Janet Walker, adds a range of important theorization about the often-neglected intersection of documentary studies and gender.
Another important trend comes from emerging work in historiography that has had a significant impact on the powerful resurgence of interest in film history beginning in the 1980s with, for example, the economic-industrial histories by Richard Allen and Douglas Gomery and by Rick Altman and the massive, ambitious history of industrial practice, economics, and aesthetics coauthored by David Bordwell, Janet Staiger, and Kristin Thompson. From his influential essay on spectatorship and early cinema originally published in Wide Angle( "A Cinema of Attractions," 1986), Tom Gunning’s work on early cinema has had a significant impact on this flourishing field. Gunning appropriates from Sergei Eisenstein the term "attraction" to describe a "unit of impression that aggressively subjects the spectator to sensual or psychological impact" (Stam and Miller 233). His "cinema of attractions" proposes a unifying thread between the Lumière brothers and Georges Méliès (hence between nonfiction and fiction traditions) in early cinema as a way of "presenting a series of views to their audience, fascinating because of their illusory power . . . and exoticism" (230). While Gunning argues for this "cinema of attractions" as the dominant mode of cinema production before 1906, it does not disappear after that date in spite of the consolidation and hegemony that begins to surround narrative film. Instead, he asserts that it goes underground into certain avant-garde practices and as a component of narrative films. In contrast to the voyeuristic aspect of cinema analyzed by Christian Metz, Gunning reads this as an "exhibitionist cinema" that "displays its visibility" and ruptures the self-enclosed fictional world for "a chance to solicit the attention of the spectator" (230). Other important work inspired by Gunning’s provocative retheorization of early film spectatorship includes Thomas Elsaesser and Adam Barker’s Early Cinema: Space, Frame, Narrative (1990), Ben Singer’s Melodrama and Modernity: Early Sensational Cinema and Its Contexts (2001), and Shelley Stamp’s historiography of gendered spectatorship in early cinema, Movie-Struck Girls: Women and Motion Picture Culture after the Nickelodeon (2000). The theoretical reach of Gunning’s argument certainly extends beyond silent cinema. Marsha Kinder, for example, uses Gunning’s thesis as a template for her theorization of violence in contemporary cinema ( "Violence American Style: The Narrative Orchestration of Violent Attractions," 2001).
The French philosopher Gilles Deleuze’s two works on cinema, Cinéma 1: L’Image-mouvement (1983, Cinema 1: The Movement-Image, 1986)and Cinéma 2: L’Image-temps (1985, Cinema 2: The Time-Image, 1989), over the course of the 1990s slowly began to elicit considerable interest, with a book by David Rodowick entitled Gilles Deleuze’s Time Machine (1997), as well as an edition of the online journal Film and Philosophy devoted to this work. It will be interesting to see whether Deleuze’s utilization of Peircean semiotics will reinvigorate that aspect of film theory, which has previously been dominated by Saussurean linguistics (see charles sanders peirce). A translation of the Weimar writings of Siegfried Kracauer published as The Mass Ornament (1995)may stimulate a similar resurgence, especially as this writing from the 1920s and 1930s shows his proclivity for what we now call cultural studies. Lastly, the transformation of the medium itself continues to have a profound effect on the way "film" is theorized. Not only have new texts come to light but the redistribution of material in video, laser, and now DVD formats has changed the nature and content of what can be studied. Moreover, a much wider spectrum of simulation apparatuses now subject to scrutiny by film theorists and others from a range of disciplines only serves to demonstrate the fecundity of the field and its proliferating discourses.
See also the bibliography in film theory and criticism: 1. classic topics and later developments. Texts listed there are not listed here. Primary Sources
Theodor W. Adorno, Hanns Eisler, Composing for the Films, (1947); Alexandre Astruc, La Caméra-Stylo 1948, The Birth of a New Avant-Garde: La Caméra-Stylo Peter Graham, trans. The New Wave Graham 1968; Harry Benshoff, Monsters in the Closet, (1997); Rhona Berenstein, Attack of the Leading Ladies, (1996); Bascal Bonitzer, Les Silences de la voix Cahiers du cinéma February–March, (1977); Edward R. Branigan, Narrative Comprehension and Film, (1992); Royal S. Brown, Overtones and Undertones: Reading Film Music, (1994); Noël Carroll, A Philosophy of Mass Art, (1998); Noël Carroll, Theorizing the Moving Image, (1996); Noël Carroll, David Bordwell, Post Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies, (1996); Francesco Casetti, Teorie del cinema, 1945–1990 1993, Theories of Cinema, 1945–1995 rev. and enlarged ed., Francesca Chiostri, trans. , Elizabeth Bartolini-Salimbeni, trans. , 1999; Michel Chion, Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, Claudia Gorbman trans. 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