Inside the Gaze

Inside the Gaze : The Fiction Film and Its Spectator

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"Inside the Gaze" combines continental and Anglo-American theory to answer questions such as: In what way does film address its spectator? How does the film prefigure the spectator? Is the film aware of its orientation towards its spectator? And to what extent does it posit itself as the spectator's lead? Francesco Casetti assumes that the film addresses an ideal interlocutor whose essential features contribute to its form."Inside the Gaze", articulates the relationship between spectator and film text around three metaphors: film signals the presence of its spectator, film assigns the spectator a specific place, and film guides its spectator along a path. These metaphors help to explore a range of issues that are crucial for cinema studies, such as enunciation, point of view, subjectivity, focalization, perspective, etc. Casetti illustrates his position with a careful analysis of a wide range of films such as "Gone with the Wind", De Sanctis' "Bitter Rice", Antonioni's "Cronaca di un Amore", Bunuel's "El", Welles' "Citizen Kane" and "F for Fake", and Hitchcock's "Stage Fright" and "Vertigo".It stands at a key juncture in film studies, consolidating the gains of semiotic and textual analysis while pointing toward the social analysis of viewers and the uses they make of films.
"Inside the Gaze" represents a major contribution to the second phase of cinema semiotics, coming after a decade of important continental work on psychoanalysis and the theory of ideology, and after muck Anglo-American work in film history and reception studies, Francesco Casetti claims to look at the fashionable idea that a film inscribes or posits, its spectator and guides that spectator along a path, but by the book's end, he has developed the concept of cinematic enunciation so that it is to initiate, coordinate, and validate the enterprise of cinema itself. All readers of this short volume will come away newly sensitive to the incredible complexity of that enterprise, and will acquire tools to analyze the inner workings of narrative films and the outer workings of films with spectators.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 156 x 232 x 14mm | 258.55g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • 0253212324
  • 9780253212320
  • 1,383,125

Review quote

Drawing on the crucial insight of contemporary cinematic theory that films actively create--rather than merely gratify--the spectators who view them, Casetti probes the complex interrelationship between film and viewer, coalescing key concepts from semiotics and psychoanalysis. First published in Italian in 1986 and now translated for the first time into English, this volume is primarily a theoretical tract, but it affords substantial commentary on individual films by directors such as Antonioni, Hitchcock, Bunuel (Bunuel), Welles, and others. Interested not only in how films invent spectators and the reverse, but in how viewers carry films out into the recesses of their lives, Casetti approaches his task in a manner described by his mentor and fellow theorist Christian Metz as science... wrapped in a thin film of poetry or reverie. Hence, the text is by turns straightforward and metaphorical. With its helpful introductions by Metz and Dudley Andrew, and an author's note to the English edition, this translation will add much to the repertoire of film scholarship at the upper-division undergraduate level and above. It is too specialized for beginning undergraduates and novice general readers.L./P>--L. Babener, Central Washington University""Choice"" (01/01/1999)
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About Francesco Casetti

Francesco Casetti, professor of cinema and television at the Catholic University of Milan, is the author of Film Theories 1945-1990. He is also a visiting professor at the University of Paris III and at the University of Iowa.Nell Andrew is a doctoral student in the Department of Art History at the University of Chicago.
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