Cinema as Weather: Stylistic Screens and Atmospheric Change, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Cinema as Weather

Stylistic Screens and Atmospheric Change, 1st Edition

By Kristi McKim


218 pages | 25 B/W Illus.

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How do cinematic portrayals of the weather reflect and affect our experience of the world? While weatherly predictability and surprise can impact our daily experience, the history of cinema attests to the stylistic and narrative significance of snow, rain, wind, sunshine, clouds, and skies. Through analysis of films ranging from The Wizard of Oz to The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, from Citizen Kane to In the Mood for Love, Kristi McKim calls our attention to the ways that we read our atmospheres both within and beyond the movies.

Building upon meteorological definitions of weather's dynamism and volatility, this book shows how film weather can reveal character interiority, accelerate plot development, inspire stylistic innovation, comprise a momentary attraction, convey the passage of time, and idealize the world at its greatest meaning-making capacity (unlike our weather, film weather always happens on time, whether for tumultuous, romantic, violent, suspenseful, or melodramatic ends).

Akin to cinema's structuring of ephemera, cinematic weather suggests aesthetic control over what is fleeting, contingent, wildly environmental, and beyond human capacity to tame. This first book-length study of such a meteorological and cinematic affinity casts film weather as a means of artfully and mechanically conquering contingency through contingency, of taming weather through a medium itself ephemeral and enduring.

Using film theory, history, formalist/phenomenological analysis, and eco-criticism, this book casts cinema as weather, insofar as our skies and screens become readable through our interpretation of changing phenomena.


‘Kristi McKim’s Cinema as Weather is an insightful and original contribution to the growing field of environmental film studies. McKim takes up the notion that insofar as the production and screening of cinematic weather mimics actual weatherly phenomena, cinema is weather. McKim’s bold assertions about the nature of cinema are wonderfully nuanced by her critical perspectives on film theory and actual atmospheric conditions.’Stephen Rust, University of Oregon, USA

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Revealing Skies and Screens: The Confluence of Weather and Cinema 2. The Cinematic History of Weather, and the History of Cinematic Weather 3. Interiority and Exteriority: Cinematic Weather as Plot and Effect 4. Cinematic Rain 5. Cinematic Snow 6. Cinematic Sunlight and Seasons 7. Conclusion

About the Author

Kristi McKim is Associate Professor of English and Chair of the Film Studies Program at Hendrix College, US.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Film Studies

This series is our home for innovative research in the field of film studies. It includes monographs and targeted edited collections that provide new insights into this important and evolving subject area.


To submit a proposal for this series, please contact:
Suzanne Richardson, Commissioning Editor for Media, Cultural and Communication Studies

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ART / Film & Video
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies