Theory of Film

Theory of Film : The Redemption of Physical Reality

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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 Bela Balazs, Rudolf Arnheim, and Andre 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 more

Product details

  • Paperback | 488 pages
  • 134 x 202 x 30mm | 539.77g
  • Princeton University Press
  • New Jersey, United States
  • English
  • With a New Introduction by Mir ed.
  • 0691037043
  • 9780691037042
  • 215,489

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 Universityshow more

Table of contents

IntroductionPrefaceAcknowledgmentsIntroduction1Photography32Basic Concepts273The Establishment of Physical Existence414Inherent Affinities605History and Fantasy776Remarks on the Actor937Dialogue and Sound1028Music1339The Spectator15710Experimental film17511The Film of Fact19312The Theatrical Story21513Interlude: Film and Novel23214The Found Story and the Episode24515Matters of Content26216Film in Our Time285Notes313Bibliography339Index351show more

Review Text

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)show more
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