Multimodal Film Analysis: How Films Mean, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Multimodal Film Analysis

How Films Mean, 1st Edition

By John Bateman, Karl-Heinrich Schmidt


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This book presents a new basis for the empirical analysis of film. Starting from an established body of work in film theory, the authors show how a close incorporation of the current state of the art in multimodal theory—including accounts of the syntagmatic and paradigmatic axes of organisation, discourse semantics and advanced ‘layout structure’—builds a methodology by which concrete details of film sequences drive mechanisms for constructing filmic discourse structures. The book introduces the necessary background, the open questions raised, and the method by which analysis can proceed step-by-step. Extensive examples are given from a broad range of films.

With this new analytic tool set, the reader will approach the study of film organisation with new levels of detail and probe more deeply into the fundamental question of the discipline: just how is it that films reliably communicate meaning?


"By developing a framework for multimodal film analysis, Bateman and Schmidt bridge the gap between accounts that analyse film shot by shot and those accounts who primarily focus on larger units such as scenes. One of the fundamental advances of their socio-semiotic model is that it includes details on lower levels of abstraction as well as highly abstract concepts like filmic genre… As far as I am aware, the concept they develop is unmatched in contemporary film theory and shows how fundamental semiotic concepts still are."—Thomas Metten in Multimodal Communication

Table of Contents

1. Introduction: Analyzing Film 2. Paradigmatic and Syntagmatic Organisation 3. The Paradigmatic Organisation of Film 4. The Syntagmatic Organisation of Film 5. Analysis: Combining Syntagmatic and Paradigmatic Accounts in the Empirical Analysis of Film 6. The Syntagmatic Organisation of Film (II): Descriptive Syntagma 7. The Paradigmatic Organisation of Film (II): Relations within the shot 8. Filmic Analysis Within and Around the Shot 9. Conclusion

About the Authors/Editor

John Bateman is professor of Applied Linguistics in the English and Linguistics Departments of the University of Bremen, specializing in functional, computational and multimodal linguistics.

Karl-Heinrich Schmidt is professor of Electronic Media at the Bergische University of Wuppertal.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Multimodality

Edited by Kay O'Halloran, Routledge Studies in Multimodality aims to advance knowledge of multimodal resources such as language, visual images, gesture, action, music, sound, 3-D artefacts, architecture and space, as well as the ways these resources integrate to create meaning in multimodal objects and events.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Media Studies