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Winner, A Choice Magazine Outstanding Academic Book A concise, lively, and readable summary of classical and contemporary film theory, Aesthetics of Film is the work of experts who are defining the parameters of film criticism internationally. First published in French (L'Esthetique du film) in 1983, the book provides an essential introduction to all major areas of film study, including semiotics, narratology, psychoanalysis as a part of film theory, and the theory of spectatorship. Because current film criticism is part of a historical debate about the role of cinema in society, the authors probe the contributions of significant film theorists of the past. They consider the earliest writings of Munsterberg, Balazs, and Eisenstein, move on to Bazin, the Filmologists, and Mitry, and address the linguistic, semiotic, and psychoanalytic contributions offered by Barthes, Metz, and many of their contemporaries. The chapters include "Film as Audiovisual Representation," "Montage," "Cinema and Narration," "Cinema and Language," and "Film and its Spectator." With numerous references to specific films and many black-and-white stills, the book will be useful for both beginning film students and advanced scholars who need a summary of the major stages in the development of film theory and aesthetics.
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Table of Contents

Translator's NoteIntroductionTypologies of Written Work on the CinemaThe Popular PressPublications Directed at CinephilesTheoretical and Aesthetic WritingsTheories of the Cinema and Aesthetics of the CinemaAn Indigenous TheoryA Descriptive TheoryFilm Theory and AestheticsTheory of the Cinema and Technical PracticeFilm Theories1. Film as Audiovisual RepresentationFilm SpaceTechniques of DepthPerspective Depth of FieldThe Concept of the ShotThe Cinema as Audio RepresentationThe Economic-Technical Factors and Their History Aesthetic and Ideological Factors2. MontageThe Principle of EditingThe Objects of EditingModes of Action in EditingMontage: The Large Definition of EditingThe Functions of MontageThe Empirical ApproachToward More Systematic DescriptionIdeologies of MontageAndre Bazin and the Cinema of TransparencyS. M. Eisenstein and the Dialectical Cinema3. Cinema and NarrationNarrative CinemaThe Cinema Encounters NarrationNon-narrative Cinema: A Difficult BoundaryNarrative Cinema: Objects and Objectives of Film StudyThe Fiction FilmEvery Film Is a Fiction FilmThe Problem of the ReferentNarrative, Narration, and DiegesisNarrative Codes, Functions, and CharactersRealism in the CinemaRealism and the Materials of ExpressionThe Realism of Film Subject MatterThe PlausibleThe Genre EffectThe Impression of Reality4. Cinema and LanguageFilm LanguageAn Ancient NotionThe First TheoristsThe Film GrammarsThe Classical Conception of LanguageA Language without SignsThe Cinema: Language or Language System?Film Language and Language System(s)Film's IntelligibilityThe Heterogeneity of Film LanguageThe Materials of ExpressionThe Concept of Code in SemiologyThe Codes Specific to the CinemaNonspecific CodesThe Textual Analysis of FilmThe Concept of Film Text in Language and CinemaCase Study: The Textual System of D. W Griffith's Intolerance The Notion of Text in Literary SemioticsThe Originality and Consequence of Textual Analysis5. Film and Its SpectatorThe Film SpectatorThe Conditions of the Representative IllusionThe "Working" of the SpectatorFilmology's SpectatorThe Film Spectator as Imaginary PersonA New Approach to the Film SpectatorThe Film Spectator and Identification in Film The Role of Identification in the Formation of the Ego Identification as Narcissistic RegressionDouble Identification in the CinemaPrimary Identification in the CinemaSecondary Identification in the CinemaIdentification and StructureIdentification and EnunciationThe Film Spectator and the Psychoanalytic SubjectFeminist Theory and the SpectatorConclusion NotesBibliographyIndex

About the Author

Jacques Aumont is Professor Emeritus at the Universite de la Sorbonne Nouvelle in Paris.


"The single most comprehensive survey of the subject yet written. This masterful book provides a critical and concise introduction to nearly 100 years of philosophic inquiry into the cinema. . . . Aesthetics of Film is likely to become an essential text for the classroom and will provid e an excellent backbone to the collegiate syllabus." * Choice *

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