Ideologies of the Real in Title Sequences, Motion Graphics and Cinema  book cover
1st Edition

Ideologies of the Real in Title Sequences, Motion Graphics and Cinema

ISBN 9780367199197
Published August 20, 2019 by Routledge
274 Pages

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Book Description

This book explores the question of realism in motion pictures. Specifically, it explores how understanding the role of realism in the history of title sequences in film can illuminate discussions raised by the advent of digital cinema.

Ideologies of the Real in Title Sequences, Motion Graphics and Cinema fills a critical and theoretical void in the existing literature on motion graphics. Developed from careful analysis of André Bazin, Stanley Cavell, and Giles Deleuze’s approaches to cinematic realism, this analysis uses title sequences to engage the interface between narrative and non-narrative media to consider cinematic realism in depth through highly detailed close readings of the title sequences for Bullitt (1968), Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974), The Number 23 (2007), The Kingdom (2008), Blade Runner: 2049 (2017) and the James Bond films. From this critique, author Michael Betancourt develops a modal approach to cinematic realism where ontology is irrelevant to indexicality. His analysis shows the continuity between historical analogue film and contemporary digital motion pictures by developing a framework for rethinking how realism shapes interpretation.

Table of Contents



Part 1 — Subjectivity

1. Ontology, Editing, Photography in Kolchak: The Night Stalker (1974)

  • Section 1: The Long Take
  • Section 2: The Analytic Montage
  • Section 3: The Kinestasis
  • Articulating Realisms

2. Sublime, Uncanny, Marvelous in The Number 23 (2007)

  • ‘Unreal Fantasy,’ Representation, Ontology
  • Animation as Revelation
  • Performing Interpretation

3. Subjective Desire in Goldfinger (1964)

  • ‘Unreal Fantasy,’ Representation, Ontology
  • Composite Realities
  • Seduction

Part 2 — Objectivity

4. Narrational Naturalism in Bullitt (1968)

  • The Discovery Process
  • The ‘Reading-Image’
  • The ‘Perception-Image’

5. Persuasion in The Kingdom (2007)

  • Articulation and Enunciation in Collage
  • Intertextuality and Archive

6. Allusion of Errors in Blade Runner: 2049 (2017)

  • ‘Narrative Function’ and Indexicality
  • Editing Glitches

Part 3 — Ideologies

7. The Medium

  • Modal Media

8. The Message

  • Active Engagement

9. Realist Articulation

  • Four Realist Modes

Afterword: Digital Movies


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Michael Betancourt is a research artist/theorist concerned with digital technology and capitalist ideology. His writing has been translated into Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian, Persian, Portuguese, and Spanish, and published in journals such as The Atlantic, Make Magazine, CTheory, and Leonardo. He is the author of The ____________ Manifesto, and books such as The History of Motion Graphics and The Critique of Digital Capitalism, as well as three books on the semiotics of motion graphics: Semiotics and Title Sequences, Synchronization and Title Sequences, and Title Sequences as Paratexts. These publications complement his movies, which have screened internationally at the Black Maria Film Festival, Art Basel Miami Beach, Contemporary Art Ruhr, Athens Video Art Festival, Festival des Cinemas Differents de Paris, Anthology Film Archives, Millennium Film Workshop, the San Francisco Cinematheque’s Crossroads, and Experiments in Cinema, among many others.