Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Paperback Princeton Paperbacks

By (author) Siegfried Kracauer, Introduction by Miriam Bratu Hansen

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  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Format: Paperback | 488 pages
  • Dimensions: 134mm x 202mm x 30mm | 540g
  • Publication date: 14 December 1997
  • Publication City/Country: New Jersey
  • ISBN 10: 0691037043
  • ISBN 13: 9780691037042
  • Edition statement: With a New Introduction by Mir ed.
  • Sales rank: 186,153

Product description

Siegfried Kracauer's classic study, originally published in 1960, explores the distinctive qualities of the cinematic medium. The book takes its place alongside works in classical film theory by such figures as Bla Balzs, Rudolf Arnheim, and Andr Bazin, among others, and has met with much critical dispute. In this new edition, Miriam Bratu Hansen, examining the book in the context of Kracauer's extensive film criticism from the 1920s, provides a framework for appreciating the significance of Theory of Film for contemporary film theory.

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Editorial reviews

The author attempts essentially to answer the controversal question of whether or not photography is an art. He starts with the premise that film is a form of art, but that its achievement is satisfying aesthetically only if it is built from the specific properties of the film medium. The author is fully aware that the properties of a medium elude concise definition; he states quite simply that the affinities which seem to be characteristic of film are its recording and revealing functions, its ability to catch reality in its flux and not to arrange its elements into a pattern reminiscent of painting or theater. He thus considers films that screen the past or the unreal counter to the film's basic aesthetic principles. The book is not a technical writing on film. The author concerns himself with editing devices, modes of lighting, and the effects of the close-up only to the extent to which the application of such cinematic devices to material renders reality as we commonly perceive it. He inquires into specific areas and elements of films and problems of film composition. He concludes the book with an analysis of the two main film types - the story and the non-story. A book for the student of the arts. (Kirkus Reviews)

Back cover copy

"Kracauer's profound theoretical investigation revealed film as the form that best captured the new modes of experience that characterize modernity. Miriam Hansen's brilliant introduction chronicles the work's genesis and transformation through Kracauer's conversations with Adorno and Benjamin, his flight from the Nazis, and his uneasy assimilation into the Cold-War United States."--Tom Gunning, University of Chicago "Just as new translations of Kracauer's early works have begun to reveal aspects of his intellectual project previously unavailable to readers of English, this most welcome new edition of Kracauer's magnum opus of media aesthetics will cast a new interpretative light on his later work, thanks especially to Miriam Hansen's highly illuminating introductory essay."--Thomas Y. Levin, Princeton University

Table of contents

Introduction Photography 2Basic Concepts 3The Establishment of Physical Existence 4Inherent Affinities 5History and Fantasy 6Remarks on the Actor 7Dialogue and Sound 8Music 9The Spectator 10Experimental film 11The Film of Fact 12The Theatrical Story 13Interlude: Film and Novel 14The Found Story and the Episode 15Matters of Content 16Film in Our Time Notes Bibliography Index