Film Theory: The Basics provides an accessible introduction to the key theorists, concepts, and debates that have shaped the study of moving images. It examines film theory from its emergence in the early twentieth century to its study in the present day, and explores why film has drawn special attention as a medium, as a form of representation, and as a focal point in the rise of modern visual culture.
The book emphasizes how film theory has developed as a historically contingent discourse, one that has evolved and changed in conjunction with different social, political, and intellectual factors. To explore this fully, the book is broken down into the following distinct sections:
Complete with questions for discussion and a glossary of both key terms and key theorists, Film Theory: The Basics is an invaluable resource for those new to film studies and for anyone else interested in the history and significance of critical thinking in relation to the moving image.
"Many introductions to film theory confuse and confound the beginner. Kevin McDonald’s addition to Routledge’s ‘The Basics’ series is different. It is one of the most accessible introductions to film theory currently available, and should become the first stop for students embarking on any future study of film theory."
Warren Buckland, Reader in Film Studies, Oxford Brookes University
1 Theory Before Theory, 1915-1960
I. Early American Theorists and the Quest for Legitimacy
II. France, Film Culture, and Photogénie
III. Soviet Russia and Montage Theory
IV. Germany and the Frankfurt School
V. Post-War France: From Neorealism to the New Wave
2 French Theory, 1949-1968
I. The Linguistic Turn
II. Lacan and the Return to Freud
III. Althusser and the Return to Marx
IV. Cinema and Semiotics
V. May 1968 and Afterward
3 Screen Theory, 1969-1996
I. Screen and Theory
II. Feminist Film Theory
III. Postcolonial Theory
IV. Queer Theory
V. A Postmodern End
4 Post-Theory, 1996-2015
I. Theory’s Critics, Cognitive Science, and Historical Poetics
II. Deleuze and the Return of Philosophy
III. New Media and Post-Film Theory
Appendix I: Glossary of Key Terms
Appendix II: Glossary of Key Theorists
The Basics is a highly successful series of accessible guidebooks which provide an overview of the fundamental principles of a subject area in a jargon-free and undaunting format.
Intended for students approaching a subject for the first time, the books both introduce the essentials of a subject and provide an ideal springboard for further study. With over 50 titles spanning subjects from Artificial Intelligence to Women’s Studies, The Basics are an ideal starting point for students seeking to understand a subject area.
Each text comes with recommendations for further study and gradually introduces the complexities and nuances within a subject.