Film Theory

Film Theory: Creating a Cinematic Grammar

FELICITY COLMAN
Series: Short Cuts
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 144
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7312/colm16973
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Film Theory
    Book Description:

    Film Theoryaddresses 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. This volume takes the position that film theory is a form of writing that produces a unique cinematic grammar; and like all grammars, it forms part of the system of rules that govern a language, and is thus applicable to wider range of media forms. In their creation of authorial trends, identification of the technology of cinema as a creative force, and production of films as aesthetic markers, film theories contribute an epistemological resource that connects the technologies of filmmaking and film composition. This book explores these connections through film theorisations of processes of the diagrammatisation (the systems, methodologies, concepts, histories) of cinematic matters of the filmic world.

    eISBN: 978-0-231-85060-5
    Subjects: Film Studies

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. INTRODUCTION: THE WRITTEN MATTER OF A CINEMATIC GRAMMAR
    (pp. 1-18)

    Writing about Werner Herzog’s documentary filmGrizzly Man(2005) inCineastemagazine, Conrad Geller reminds his readers of one of the unforgettable scenes of the bear-loving naturalist, Timothy Treadwell. Geller writes of a moment selected by Herzog from Treadwell’s video blog, where Timothy is ‘fondling a large pile of bear dung. It was, he says, produced by one of his familiar bears, Wendy. “It’s still warm” he says wonderingly. “It was inside of her!”’ Geller characterises this film through such scenes, later asking ‘Did Treadwell do some good?’ He concludes thatGrizzly Man‘comes down to a kind of metaphysical...

  5. 1 MODELS
    (pp. 19-42)

    Film theory books are full of models. Their contents pages list the methods, systems and the schemata with which one might analyse a film, a film sound-image and/or the cinema industry. In writing empirical notations on the production, construction and then summary and analysis of the choice and cinematography involved in the images, materials (audio and visual), the use or rejection of a specific theoretical model determines ways of thinking about the film. In this modeling, a measurement system is enacted. Measurements imply values. Whose values are they? They change across historical and cultural contexts. The type of theoretical model...

  6. 2 TECHNOLOGY
    (pp. 43-70)

    InCosmopolis(novel by Don deLillo [2003]; film directed by David Cronenberg [2012]), the character Vija Kinski, Eric Packer’s ‘Chief of Theory’, tells him that technology ‘helps us make our fate’. This truism is given support in the narrative in a number of ways that hold the proposition to be true. In Cronenberg’s film, this dialogue takes place in one of the central technology images of the film: the long white limousine, which is used for the day by Mr. Packer (played by Robert Pattinson) as his mobile office. As an example of automotive technology, in addition to its engineering...

  7. 3 SPECTATORS
    (pp. 71-94)

    There is no film or film image without the spectator and the auditor. I see an image and I respond to it, in certain learned ways. How I see the images and the complete film is contingent upon a host of factors. Where I am seeing it is as important as what I am seeing. As Virilio, Bosak and Stiegler respectively argue, the ecology of the current militarised, hydrocarbonised landscape and its materials is the everyday spectacle through which the perceptual field of the spectator-as-participant is oriented (Virilio 1989: 25, 70; Bozak 2012: 9; Stiegler 2011: 15). This re-figured landscape,...

  8. CONCLUSIONS: FILM THEORY AS PRACTICE
    (pp. 95-102)

    The question most often asked about films seems straightforward:What is the film about?Yet to answer is not so simple, without engaging the most simplistic of value judgments: ‘I liked it’, or ‘it was good’, or ‘I didn’t like it’, or ‘it was bad’. Such answers are pure judgements based on subjective aesthetic criteria. While aesthetic preferences (which convey the contextual spectrum of value systems of political, moral, religious, economic, sexual, spiritual persuasion) form a part of the critical field, different choices for a modeling method will inevitably privilege one epistemic mode of thinking over another.

    The film ends...

  9. SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY
    (pp. 103-128)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 129-136)