Film theory

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In film and women's studies the importation of these often strange and unfamiliar ideas from Paris has become almost synonymous with their establishment as university disciplines in the 1970s. Lacan's theory of the mirror phase and the formation of the ego (see Chapter 1) was taken by many film theorists as a model for the relationship between the film projected on the screen and how this affected the film viewer or cinematic spectator. Lacan's complex notion of how a subject comes to identify themselves as an 'I' in the social world was seen as a useful way of understanding how cinema spectators identify with images on the screen, beyond simply identifying positive and negative images (usually strong and positive images of men and passive or negative images of women). Similarly, Lacan's development of Freud's theory of sexual difference (see Chapter 6) opened up new areas of debate within women's and gender studies.