The Analysis of Film

The Analysis of Film

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No serious student of film should miss the great work collected in this volume."-W. A. Vincent, Choice

When so much writing about film is based on overall impressions or shadowy memories, on notes scribbled in the dark or published shot breakdowns that are often overgeneralized or even inaccurate, it is refreshing to be confronted with such scholarly work, characterized by a genuinely attentive eye and a punctilious observation of detail. This long-awaited collection, gathering Bellour's ground breaking studies into one volume, will surely be a crucial source of inspiration for future generations of film scholars." -Peter Wollen, Bookforum

The Analysis of Film brings together Raymonds Bellour's now classic studies of classic Hollywood film. It is at once a book about the methods of close film analysis, the narrative structure of Hollywood film, Hitchcock's work-The Birds, Marnie, Psycho, North by Northwest-and the role of the woman in western representation. But, finally, it is a book about cinema itself and the love for cinema that drives the passion for analyzing the supreme art form of the twentieth century.

Bellour creatively reworks the ideas and methods of structuralism, semiology, and psychoanalysis to unravel the knot of significations that is the filmic text. The introductory chapter sketches out a history of the way the close analysis of film developed. And then, beginning with a study of the Bodega Bay sequence of The Birds, the book goes on to examine every aspect of that singular critical practice, "the analysis of film."

The book is also a model of how to write about the intricacies of film narrative, shot by shot, sequence by sequence, while addressing larger contextual issues of subjectivity, desire, and identification in Western cultural forms. A new, final chapter on D. W. Griffith's The Lonedale Operator brilliantly demonstrates that the dynamics of repetition and alternation that Bellour discovered to be the heartbeat o
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 154.94 x 231.14 x 17.78mm | 430.91g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • Reprint
  • 520 b&w photos, 6 figures
  • 0253213649
  • 9780253213648
  • 632,467

About Raymond Bellour

Raymond Bellour is Director of Research at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is a scholar and writer whose work has been devoted to both literature--especially the Brontes, Dumas, and Michaux--and film--most notably L'Analyse du film, first published in 1979, and several related collections including Le Cinema Americain and Le Western. Since the early eighties his work has concentrated on mixed media and the relation between words and images. This new focus has resulted in an exhibition, Passages de l'image (1989); a book, L'Entre-Images (1990); and a MOMA catalog, Jean-Luc Godard: Sonimage (1992). In 1991, with Serge Daney, he started the film journal Trafic.

Constance Penley is Professor and Chair of Film Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A founding editor of the leading feminist media journal, Camera Obscura, she also edited the influential collection Feminism and Film Theory. Penley has written widely in the fields of film studies, cultural studies, and science studies. Her most recent books are NASA/TREK: Popular Science and Sex in America and The Invisible Woman: Imaging Technologies, Gender, and Science, edited with Paula Treichler and Lisa Cartwright.
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Review quote

Written between 1969 and 1990, the essays in this collection remind the reader of what a brilliant film analyst Bellour was. Building on the work of Lacan, Metz, and Thierry Kuntzel, Bellour developed his own approach to analysis based primarily on a shot-by-shot study. This method enabled him to come as close as possible to surmounting what he perceived as the greatest difficulty in analyzing films-how to capture the moving image in words. Most of the essays here deal with Hitchcock films-The Birds, Psycho, Marnie, and North by Northwest. The last shows Bellour at his magisterial best: he couples a carefully worked out Oedipal interpretation of the plot with a close reading of the crop-duster sequence. The result is one of the best pieces ever written on Hitchcock. The other Hitchcock essays are also superb. The editor included pieces on other films-The Big Sleep, Gigi, The Lonedale Operator-but it is for the Hitchcock analyses that this book will be most valued. No serious student of film should miss the great work collected in this volume.W. A. Vincent, Michigan State University, Choice, November 2000
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Table of contents

Preface by Constance Penley

A Bit of History

1. The Unattainable Text
2. System of a Fragment (on The Birds)
3. The Obvious and the Code (on The Big Sleep)
4. Symbolic Blockage (on North by Northwest)
5. To Segment/To Analyze (on Gigi)
6. To Enunciate (on Marnie)
7. Psychosis, Neurosis, Perversion (on Psycho)
8. To Alternate/ to Narrate (on The Lonedale Operator)

Works by Raymond Bellour
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Rating details

18 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 28% (5)
4 44% (8)
3 6% (1)
2 22% (4)
1 0% (0)
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