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Chapter 11: Models of Film Theory. Basic Models of Film Theory. Realist Auteurist Psychoanalytic Ideological Feminist Cognitive . Realist Theory. Looks for correspondences between film images and the realities before the camera Restrictions on stylistic manipulation Andre Bazin

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basic models of film theory
Basic Models of Film Theory
  • Realist
  • Auteurist
  • Psychoanalytic
  • Ideological
  • Feminist
  • Cognitive
realist theory
Realist Theory
  • Looks for correspondences between film images and the realities before the camera
  • Restrictions on stylistic manipulation
  • Andre Bazin
    • Ethical formulation
    • Deep-focus cinematography
    • The long take
      • Jean Renoir, Orson Welles
Bazin’s approach
    • Strength
      • Stress on ethical contract between filmmaker and viewer
    • Weakness
      • Typifies few films
      • Deep focus, long takes, and montage may co-exist in a given film
other realist models
Other Realist Models
  • Documentary Realism
  • Italian neo-realism
  • Perceptual realism
    • Basis for realism at perceptual level
    • Three-dimensional visual/acoustic information
      • Cinema conveys same information as found in everyday life
      • Constrained by cinema’s transformative elements
auteurist theory
Auteurist Theory
  • The film director as author and artist
    • A recognizable stylistic signature
    • Consistencies of theme and visual design
      • Alfred Hitchcock
  • Strength:
    • Helps legitimize the medium as an art
  • Weakness:
    • Attributional errors
    • Filmmaking is collaborative
psychoanalytic models
Psychoanalytic Models
  • Derived from the writings of Freud and Jacques Lacan
  • Cinema activates unconscious, non-rational pleasures and anxieties
    • Voyeurism
      • Fetish and taboo imagery
    • Emphasis on the emotional power of cinema
    • Emphasis on its ability to arouse desire and pleasure
  • Weakness
    • Based on ambiguous clinical data
    • Tendency to over-extend its claims
ideological models
Ideological Models
  • Ideology – set of beliefs about society and the world
  • Emphasizes how film portrays society and expresses ideologies
  • Levels of ideological expression
    • First order
      • Rambo: First Blood Part II
    • Second order
      • Back to the Future
Ideological point of view:
    • Support for established social values
    • Critique of established values
    • Conglomeration
      • Mixed set of appeals and outlooks
      • Enhances marketing to large, heterogeneous audiences
    • Emphasizes relationship of film and society
    • Exposes distorted portraits of social issues
  • Weakness
    • Tends to over-extend its claims
    • Reduces films to ideological symptoms
feminist models
Feminist Models
  • Depiction of gender in film
    • Connects this to social ideologies and practices
    • Images of women (and men) in films made by men
    • Alternative forms of feminist filmmaking
  • May blend psychoanalytic and ideological elements
    • Emphasis on the ways gender influences the production of images
  • Weakness
    • Gender is one of many filters on human experience
cognitive models
Cognitive Models
  • Viewer perception of visual and auditory information
    • Perceptual processing
  • How viewers organize these perceptions and derive meaning from them
    • Interpretive processing
      • Schemas (frameworks of interpretation)
  • Bases for a viewer’s understanding of cinema
    • Perceptual correspondences
    • Social correspondences
    • The theory is research-based, supported by empirical data
    • By accounting for the intelligibility of cinema, the theory also accounts, in part, for the medium’s popularity
  • Weakness
    • Relative lack of attention to emotion
    • Lack of attention to cinema’s transformative functions