During the twentieth century, the medium of film has developed as a means of understanding the complexity of modern life. Since 1968, film theory has concentrated not so much on theme or content but on the deeper question of how the medium works on its viewer. Film theory has been profoundly influenced by the writings of such modern thinkers as Saussure, Freud, Lacan, Anthusser, Derrida and Kristeva. It combines modes of textual analysis relating to linguistics and semiology, a Marxist reading of ideology, and theories of subjectivity, the spectator and gender redefined by psychoanalysis.
This judicious selection from key work by Stephen Heath, Fredric Jameson, Laura Mulvey, Mary Ann Doanne and others, represents some of the most important contemporary writing about film. It provides a consistent and developing analysis that will be of interest to students concerned with film and film studies, as well as students of cultural, media and communication studies.
General Editors' Preface. Acknowledgements. Part 1 Introduction Classic film theory; semiotics; politics and ideology; politics and subjectivity; politics and gender Part 2 Vision and phantasy Fetishism, Sigmund Freud; the mirror stage, Jacques Lacan. Ideology and subjectivity: cinema, ideology, criticism, Louis Comolli and Jean Narboni; realism and the cinema - notes on some Brechtian theses, Colin MacCabe; class and allegory in contemporary mass culture - "Dog Day Afternoon" as a political film, Fredric Jameson. Part 3 Gender and the gaze Visual pleasure and narrative cinema, Laura Mulvey; afterthoughts on "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema"; double indemnity, Claire Johnston; from "Fantasia", Liz Cowie; from "The Desire to Desire", Mary Ann Doane; from "Casablanca" to "Pretty Woman" - the politics of romance, Rob Lapsley and MichaelWestlake.