Post-theory : Reconstructing Film Studies

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Since the 1970s, film scholars have been searching for a unified theory that will explain all types of film, their production and their reception; the field has been dominated by structuralist Marxism, varieties of cultural theory and the psychoanalytic ideas of Freud and Lacan. The authors of this text ask why not employ many theories tailored to specific goals, rather than search for a unified theory. They offer directions for understanding film, presenting essays by 27 scholars on topics as diverse as film scores, audience response and the national film industries of Russia, Scandinavia, the US and Japan. Using historical, philosophical, psychological and feminist methods, the book examines issues such as: what goes on when viewers perceive a film?; how do filmmakers exploit conventions?; how do movies create illusions?; and how does a film arouse emotion?show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 582 pages
  • 150 x 224 x 32mm | 780.17g
  • University of Wisconsin Press
  • Wisconsin, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 57 b&w photographs, 13 line illustrations
  • 0299149447
  • 9780299149444
  • 355,781

Back cover copy

Since the 1970s, the academic study of film has been dominated by Structuralist Marxism, varieties of cultural theory, and the psychoanalytic ideas of Freud and Lacan. With Post-Theory, David Bordwell and Noel Carroll have opened the floor to other voices challenging the prevailing practices of film scholarship. Addressing topics as diverse as film scores, national film industries, and audience response. Post-Theory offers fresh directions for understanding film. Bordwell and Carroll pose a simple question. Why not employ many theories tailored to specific goals, rather than searching for a unified theory that will explain all sorts of films, their production, and their reception? The scholars writing here use historical, philosophical, psychological, and feminist methods to tackle such basic issues as: What goes on when viewers perceive a film? How do filmmakers exploit conventions? How do movies create illusions? How does a film arouse emotion? Bordwell and Carroll have given space not only to distinguished film scholars but to non-film specialists as well, ensuring a wide variety of opinions and ideas on virtually every topic on the current agenda of film studies. Full of stimulating essays published here for the first time, Post-Theory promises to redefine the study of more

Review quote

Post-Theory is absolutely timely as a call to reform the field of film studies. Bordwell and Carroll two of the most prominent names in the field advocate pluralism, open mindedness, film theories over film Theory, and the need for an ongoing critical dialogue. There is no other book like it. Andrew Horton, author of Writing the Character-Centered Screenplay"show more

About David Bordwell

David Bordwell is the Jacques Ledoux Professor of Film Studies at the University of Wisconsin Madison. His books include Narration in the Fiction Film, also published by the University of Wisconsin Press, Making Meaning, The Cinema of Eisenstein, The Classical Hollywood Cinema, and many others. Noel Carroll, the Andrew W. Mellon Professor of Humanities at Temple University, is the author of Mystifying Movies, The Philosophy of Horror, and Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory. He has written scores of articles and reviews for such publications as The Village Voice, Art Forum, and The Boston Review and has been a documentary screenwriter for WNET-TV in New York."show more

Rating details

42 ratings
3.66 out of 5 stars
5 31% (13)
4 29% (12)
3 29% (12)
2 0% (0)
1 12% (5)
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