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What is the relationship between the cinema and the spectator? Renowned film scholars Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener use this central question for film theory in order to guide students through all of the major film theories-from the classical period to today-in this brief, insightful, and engaging book. Every kind of cinema (and every kind of film theory) presupposes an ideal spectator, and then imagines a certain relationship between the mind and body of that spectator and the screen. Using seven distinctive configurations of spectator and screen that move from "exterior" to "interior" relationships, the authors retrace the most important stages of film theory from the 1920s onwards, with special attention paid to theories since 1945, from neo-realist and modernist theories to psychoanalytic, apparatus, phenomenological, and cognitivist theories, while also offering an incisive extension of film theory through the senses into the digital age.Each chapter opens with a paradigmatic scene from a well-known film to introduce key concepts, and outlines the major schools of thought and theorists attached to a particular film theory. The films discussed combine classics of cinema such as Rear Window and The Searchers with contemporary films including Donnie Darko and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind . Film stills throughout provide a visual key to unlock challenging theoretical concepts.
Thomas Elsaesser is Professor of Film and Television Studies in the Department of Art and Culture at the University of Amsterdam. A renowned film scholar, he is the author and editor of many books, including Weimar Cinema and After, also published by Routledge. Malte Hagener is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the Leuphana Universitt Lneburg. He has written Moving Forward, Looking Back: The European Avant-garde and the Invention of Film Culture, 1919-1939 and edited many volumes, including Cinephilia: Movies, Love, and Memory.
Table of Contents
Introduction: film theory, cinema, the body and the senses
Cinema as window and frame
Open and closed film forms (Leo Braudy)
Cinema as shop-window and display
Cinema as door - screen and threshold
Entry into the film
Etymology of screen
Thresholds of the cinema/movie theater
Beginnings: credits and credit sequences
Post-structuralism (Thierry Kuntzel)
Door/screen as filmic motif in Buster Keaton and Woody Allen
Cinema as mirror and face
Face as mirror of the unconscious
Early cinema and the close-up (Tom Gunning)
Reflexive doubling in modern (art) cinema
Paradoxes of the mirror
Cinema as eye - look and gaze
Active and passive eye
The mobile eye of early cinema
Feminist film theories
The Silence of the Lambs
Historicity of modes of perception
Regimes of the gaze
The big Other (Jacques Lacan)
Slavoj Äi ek
The panoptic gaze (Michel Foucault)
Niklas Luhmann and self-monitoring
Cinema as skin and touch
Critique of "ocularcentrism"
Skin and identity
The New world
The (re-)turn to the body
Body and genre (Linda Williams, Barbara Creed)
The skin of film (Laura Marks)
Accented cinema (Hamid Naficy)
Cinema as ear - acoustics and space
Singin' in the Rain
Sound as spatial phenomenon
Silent cinema and the introduction of sounds
Sound in classical cinema
The acousniêtre (Michel Chion)
Reversals in the hierarchy of image and sound
Materiality and plasticity of sound
Cinema as brain - mind and body
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Propaganda and cult films
Five concepts for connecting mind and cinema
Mind and body, spectator and film
Embodiment and disembodied vision
Conclusion: digital cinema-the body and the senses refigured?
Animation and (photo-)graphics
The future of projection
Screens: bigger and smaller
The new body norm: face or hand?
Productive contradictions: digital cinema, virtual reality, media convergence
Interface and portal instead of window, door and screen
Monsters Inc. and doors
Public and private
Mobility and hybridity
Film theory and philosophy: radical reformulations or rescue missions?
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