Rudolf Arnheim (1904-2007) was a pioneering figure in film studies, best known for his landmark book on silent cinema Film as Art. He ultimately became more famous as a scholar in the fields of art and art history, largely abandoning his theoretical work on cinema. However, his later aesthetic theories on form, perception and emotion should play an important role in contemporary film and media studies.
In this enlightening new volume in the AFI Film Readers series, an international group of leading scholars revisits Arnheim’s legacy for film and media studies. In fourteen essays, the contributors bring Arnheim’s later work on the visual arts to bear on film and media, while also reassessing the implications of his film theory to help refine our grasp of Film as Art and related texts. The contributors discuss a broad range topics including Arnheim’s film writings in relation to modernism, his antipathy to sound as well as color in film, the formation of his early ideas on film against the social and political backdrop of the day, the wider uses of his methodology, and the implications of his work for digital media.
This is essential reading for any film and media student or scholar seeking to understand the meaning and contemporary impact of Arnheim’s foundational work in film theory and aesthetics.
Table of Contents
Foreword: Rudolf Arnheim in Retrospect, Dudley Andrew
Introduction, Scott Higgins
1. Rudolf Arnheim: Clarity, Simplicity, Balance, David Bordwell
2. Arnheim and Modernism, Malcolm Turvey
3. Rudolf Arnheim’s Early Passage between Social and Aesthetic Film Criticism,
4. Screening Out Sound: Arnheim and Cinema’s Silence, Nora M. Alter
5. A Gestalt Approach to Film Analysis, Meraj Dhir
6. Deft Trajectories for the Eye: Bringing Arnheim to Vincente Minnelli’s Color Design, Scott Higgins
7. Perfecting the Complete Cinema: Rudolf Arnheim and the Digital Intermediates, Jinhee Choi
8. Art, Accident, and the Interpretation of the Modern World, Patrick Keating
9. Visual Thinking of the Avant-Garde Film, Maureen Turim
10. Arnheim on Radio: Materialtheorie and Beyond, Shawn VanCour
11. Television from Afar: Arnheim’s Understanding of Media, Doron Galili
12. Arnheim and Comics, Greg M. Smith
13. Arnheim on Style History, Colin Burnett
14. Arnheim on the Ontology of the Photographic Image, Vincent Bohlinger
Notes on Contributors
"...this volume is a bracing and engaging read, swiftly moving from one film to the next, and one aspect of the cinema to another, to give a comprehensive overview of Arnheim's continuing impact on film criticism." - CHOICE, April 2011