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Film Theory in the United States and Europe

Summary and Keywords

Since the 1960s, film theory has undergone rapid development as an academic discipline—to such an extent that students new to the subject are quickly overwhelmed by the extensive and complex research published under its rubric. “Film Theory in the United States and Europe” presents a broad overview of guides to and anthologies of film theory, followed by a longer section that presents an historical account of film theory’s development—from classical film theory of the 1930s–1950s (focused around film as an art), the modern (or contemporary) film theory of the 1960s–1970s (premised on semiotics, Marxism, feminism, and psychoanalysis), to current developments, including the New Lacanians and cognitive film theory. The second section ends with a very brief overview of film and/as philosophy. The article covers the key figures and fundamental concepts that have contributed to film theory as an autonomous discipline within the university. These concepts include ontology of film, realism/the reality effect, formalism, adaptation, signification, voyeurism, patriarchy, ideology, mainstream cinema, the avant-garde, suture, the cinematic apparatus, auteur-structuralism, the imaginary, the symbolic, the real, film and emotion, and embodied cognition.

Keywords: film theory, film semiotics, feminist film theory, avant-garde film, cognitive film theory, the cinematic apparatus, psychoanalytic film theory

Since the 1960s, film theory has undergone rapid development as an academic discipline—to such an extent that students new to the subject are quickly overwhelmed by the extensive and complex research published under its rubric. As an academic discipline, film theory has also become an autonomous discourse, an object in its own right (separate from films and the cinema): “a discipline’s coherence,” writes D. N. Rodowick, “derives not from the objects it examines but rather from the concepts and methods it mobilizes to generate critical thought.”1 Thus, guides to film theory constitute an essential genre of Anglo-American film studies publishing, together with encyclopedias and anthologies of key essays.

The following article is divided into two sections. The first presents a broad overview of guides to and anthologies of film theory, followed by a longer second section that presents an historical account of film theory’s development—from classical film theory of the 1930s–1950s (focused around film as an art), the modern (or contemporary) film theory of the 1960s–1970s (premised on semiotics, Marxism, feminism, and psychoanalysis), to current developments, including the New Lacanians and cognitive film theory. The second section ends with a very brief overview of film and/as philosophy.

Discussion of the Literature

Guides to Film Theory

An early—and still influential—guide to film theory is Peter Wollen’s seminal book Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, first published in 1969 (currently in its 5th edition).2 From today’s perspective, it looks like a straightforward introduction to Sergei Eisenstein, auteur theory, and film semiotics. But back in 1969, Wollen’s three chapters constituted the first English language summaries of these formative areas of film theory. Just as significantly, Wollen did not simply summarize previous theory, he contributed to it, especially auteur theory, which he attempted to develop via structuralism. This improbable alliance between auteur theory and structuralism yielded a theory that attempts to define the work of a director not simply in terms of recurring themes and motifs, but as a constellation of underlying recurrent structures, tropes, and themes that constitute a director’s worldview.

Another influential account of film theory is Dudley Andrew’s The Major Film Theories, a lucid presentation on key figures of “classical” film theory (Hugo Münsterberg, Rudolf Arnheim, Eisenstein, Béla Balázs, Siegfried Kracauer, André Bazin), with the final section devoted to the more contemporary work of Jean Mitry, Christian Metz, and phenomenological studies of film.3 Andrew’s book stands out from other summaries of film theory in that it reorganizes each theory identically around the same structure: Aristotle’s account of the four causes of natural phenomena (material, efficient, formal, and final causes). Andrew adapts Aristotle to film theory by identifying how each theory raises questions about the raw material of film, the methods and techniques that shape the raw material; the resulting forms of film, and the purpose and value of cinema. He followed this volume with a sequel, Concepts in Film Theory, which shifts focus to concepts pursued in film theory since the 1960s, including perception, representation, signification, narrative structure, adaptation, valuation (of genres and auteurs), identification, figuration, and interpretation (with feminist film theory confined largely to the endnotes).4 In his introduction, Andrew notes that most of these theories emerged from France and transformed film theory into a sophisticated discipline: “Whereas no one can hope to master the anthropological, psychoanalytic, linguistic, rhetorical, and ideological theories (to name only the most evident) now considered crucial to a full understanding of the field [of film theory], all modern theorists can smirk at the naïveté of an era in which full understanding was considered attainable by means of direct reflection.”5 The importation of French theory into Anglo-American film studies helped to confer upon film studies the status of an academic discipline.

Francesco Casetti’s Theories of Cinema focuses on broad trends within film theory after 1945.6 He identifies three components of theory: “There is a nucleus of basic ideas that frames the research; there is a network of concepts that establishes the order and the modality of the exposition; and there are several concrete observations that make verification possible.”7 At any one point in the history of a paradigm, one of these three aspects of a theory predominates. Casetti employs this threefold distinction to map the main paradigms of research in film studies.

The first paradigm Casetti identifies is “ontological theory.” This paradigm emphasizes the first aspect of theory—the nucleus of basic ideas, which are employed to ask broad questions such as: what is cinema as such? This is primarily a metaphysical study of film’s essence, an attempt to define what the cinema is. The criterion for the resulting knowledge is its ability to get at the “truth” of cinema. Casetti names the second paradigm “methodological theory,” which is notable for its reflexivity. This paradigm focuses much more than ontological theory on research design, on studying an aspect of the cinema using specific criteria from a particular standpoint. A methodological theory systematically employs concepts from one perspective (e.g., narratology) to analyze aspects of film pertinent to that perspective (e.g., narrative structure), rather than study the cinema “as such” from an all-encompassing omniscient position. The criterion for the resulting knowledge is the “correctness” of the research, which is measured in relation to the perspective that films are made to fit into.

Casetti names the third paradigm “field theory.” The field theorist intervenes in the interpretation of problems and questions raised by particular films rather than simply conducting a detached analysis of film from a specific theoretical perspective. Casetti characterizes this paradigm as the theory’s phenomenal dimension, its direct and intense engagement with particular films. Yet the field theorist not does lose sight of the general; this paradigm implies “that generality is seen as a goal that can be reached only by starting from the singular, from the unique, even from the idiosyncratic.”8 The field theorist in fact links up the individual film to global questions of culture and politics. The criterion for the resulting knowledge is its ability to elucidate the questions and problems associated with a particular film, or small group of films.

D. N. Rodowick’s The Crisis of Political Modernism: Criticism and Ideology in Contemporary Film Theory examines the contemporary (or modern) film theory of the 1970s in terms of a dual agenda: its critique of common sense as ideology, and its attempts to align aesthetics and politics via theory.9 More specifically, contemporary film theory critiqued representational cinema’s perpetuation of dominant ideology and proposed an alternative, political modernist avant-garde cinema to investigate film’s own materiality, contradictions, and conditions of production.

More recently, in Elegy for Theory, a book in part based on an essay of the same name, Rodowick presents a genealogy and critique of what he calls the unstable and unruly concept of theory, privileging Christian Metz’s film semiotics in the 1960s as the beginnings of “film theory.”10 What came before (Arnheim, Bazin, Balázs, etc.) has retroactively been defined from the perspective of the 1960s as film theory. At the same time, Metz’s film semiotics, which conceptualized film as a form of signification, constitutes just one stage in a general semiotics of culture. Throughout the book, Rodowick rethinks theory as an academic form of historically situated discursive practice, rather than as a series of first principles stated in the form of a system of immutable propositions.

Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, focuses on film theory metaphors (i.e., cinema as window and frame, look and gaze, skin and touch etc.) and asks the major “classical” and “modern” film theories “to tell us how film and cinema relate to the body and the senses.”11 The book breaks with both the chronological model and with the “belief in reality/belief in the image” dichotomy to subsume the diversity of theories under a more holistic schema, organized around the body and the senses. That is, the book is organized round the proposition that “Each type of cinema (as well as every film theory) imagines an ideal spectator, which means it postulates a certain relation between the (body of the) spectator and the (properties of the) image on the screen.”12

Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions by Warren Buckland presents a detailed philosophical analysis of canonical essays and books by Peter Wollen, Laura Mulvey, Thomas Elsaesser, Stephen Heath, Slavoj Žižek, Edward Branigan, among others.13 It examines the underlying logic of their theoretical arguments by asking a series of questions: How does a film theory select its objects of study and its methods of inquiry? How does it make discoveries and explain filmic phenomena? How does it formulate and solve theoretical problems?

Additional guides include Film Theory: An Introduction by Robert Lapsley and Michael Westlake (a traditional exegesis of many key film theory essays and books), Film Theory: An Introduction by Robert Stam (a broad overview of film theory trends and traditions presented in 42 concise chapters), and What is Film Theory?: An Introduction to Contemporary Debates by Richard Rushton and Gary Bettinson. The latter is a clear exposition of film theory from the 1960s onwards, covering semiotics, psychoanalysis, feminism, cognitive theory, and film-philosophy.14 Two concise and readable entry-level overviews deserve mention: Film Theory: Creating a Cinematic Grammar by Felicity Colman, and Film Theory: The Basics by Kevin McDonald.15


In the 1970s, anthologies of film theory essays helped to stabilize film theory as an academic discipline. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, edited by Gerald Mast and Marshall Cohen (first published in 1974, currently in its 8th edition, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen16), contains film theory essays and book chapters that range from classical film theory to sound theory, digital theory, and globalization. Movies and Methods, edited by Bill Nichols, was equally instrumental in consolidating film theory as an academic discipline.17 Whereas the first two parts represent traditional approaches to film (including political, genre, auteur, mise en scène and feminist criticism), the third section (more than 250 pages) represents the vibrant debates that took place within film theory in the early 1970s. Film theory’s rapid development necessitated a second volume (rather than a revision of the original volume), Movies and Methods, volume 2.18 Although the sections are similar (with the notable absence of auteur criticism), the sections on traditional approaches to film contain theoretically inflected essays (especially the sections on political criticism and on feminism), and the theory section is divided into two separate sections on semiotics and psychoanalysis. Most revealing, however, is the final section on countercurrents, a heading suggesting that film theory had, by the mid-1980s, become an established academic discipline that attracted oppositional trends, such as phenomenology, formalism, and statistical style analysis. Both volumes (totaling more than 1300 pages) are invaluable not only for the canonical texts and Introductions, but also for the page-long headnotes that Nichols writes for each essay.

Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader, edited by Philip Rosen, narrows its focus to core film theory essays and book chapters from the 1970s and 1980s, covering narrative structure, subjectivity, the cinematic apparatus, and the ideological analysis of filmic texts.19 Each of the four sections is preceded by a lucid introduction to these topics.

Film and Theory: An Anthology, edited by Toby Miller and Robert Stam, is distinct in two ways:20 it is a broad-based collection of essays covering not only core film theory from the 1960s and 1970s but also stars and performance, culture industries, fandom, television, race, and third cinema; and its thirteen sections are organized, not around schools of thought, but around questions and problems, including the following: How is filmic specificity defined? What is the relation between image and technology? What is filmic realism (and its alternatives)? What are the parameters of film style? What is the relation between cinema, race, and sexuality?

Miller and Stam also edited a collection of specially commissioned essays on the current state of film theory, called A Companion to Film Theory.21 The twenty chapters range widely over familiar schools of thought (genre, semiotics, psychoanalysis, cognitive film theory, and historical poetics) but also include topics traditionally marginalized in film theory, including the culture industry, ethnographic film, and the political economy of film.

More concise than other anthologies, Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments, edited by Marc Furstenau, represents film theory via a history of several debates.22 Each section begins with a key theoretical argument, followed by reactions to that argument, including Malcolm Turvey responding to Rodowick’s essay “Elegy for Theory,”23 Daniel Morgan rethinking Bazin’s essay on the ontology of the photographic image, and a section devoted to digital cinema.

The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, edited by Edward Branigan and Warren Buckland, is a wide-ranging reference book containing 83 entries (approximately 2000–3000 words each) on key film theory concepts.24 It is structured according to three principles: “(1) to make explicit the implicit assumptions and presuppositions behind each film theory by defining and contextualizing the theory’s terminology; (2) to rewrite and clarify the inexact and variant formulations; and (3) to avoid abstract generalities.”25 The encyclopedia aims to “assess a concept within a specific moment of its use, at a moment when a specific argument is being aggressively generated to serve a project.”26

There are two anthologies that cover almost every topic in film theory: Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings publishes extracts from more than 80 authors organized into eleven sections, covering more than 1200 pages.27 But the most comprehensive anthology of film theory essay is the all-inclusive four volume Film Theory: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies.28


The website Film Studies For Free, run by Catherine Grant,29 collects an extensive array of film studies material published on other web sites, including film theory Ph.D. theses, online film journals (and digitized journals from the 1970s, such as Cine-Tracts), and video essays.

Schools of Film Theory

The values inherent in all film theories have directed theorists’ attention to particular aspects of film’s general nature.

Classical Film Theory

Classical film theory, predominately written from the 1920s to the early 1960s, constitutes an ontological theory as defined by Casetti. More specifically, different classical film theorists located film’s essence in two incommensurate, diametrically opposed qualities of cinema: its photographic recording capacity (often identified with “realism,” e.g., Siegfried Kracauer; Stanley Cavell; André Bazin30) and its unique formal techniques that offer a new way of seeing (often identified with “formalism,” e.g., Lev Kuleshov; Sergei Eisenstein; Vsevolod Pudovkin; Rudolf Arnheim31). For realists, film automatically (that is, mechanically) records and reveals reality. Filmmakers therefore have a duty, the realists argued, to maintain film’s relation to reality by privileging its recording capacity. Formalists, on the other hand, regarded film as a modernist medium that offers a new view of the world and therefore urged filmmakers to exploit film techniques (montage, camera movement, etc.) to create a view of the world unique to the cinema. Auteur criticism is an offshoot from formalism. It examines the way individual directors use film techniques to manipulate film content to express their unique vision. A number of scholars have attempted to mediate between realism and formalism—notably Jean Mitry and V. F. Perkins.

As an aside, it is important to mention that the traditional criteria for identifying authorship are internal to films, and center on the auteur’s control and mastery of the creative aspects of filmmaking. In the contemporary mainstream film industry, internal authorship is no longer sufficient for directors attempting to establish themselves as auteurs. External authorship, control of the business and economic environment, is also necessary. Steven Spielberg, for example, is an internal auteur who demonstrates mastery and control of the creative aspects of filmmaking,32 and he is also an external auteur because he occupies key positions in the industry (producer, director, studio co-owner, franchise licensee).

Noël Carroll critically interrogates and gains new insights into three classical film theorists—Arnheim, Bazin, and Perkins.33 Each chapter offers a detailed (50-page plus) commentary on each theorist’s work, organized around an identical structure: an exposition of each theory followed by a critical analysis. Carroll demonstrates a deep underlying logic structuring and organizing the work of these theorists.

Modern Film Theory Paradigms: Semiotics, Marxism, Psychoanalysis

Film studies entered the Anglo-American university curriculum in the 1960s primarily via humanities disciplines such as English, comparative literature, and modern languages. For English professors, film became a new terrain in which to explore and expand literary concepts such as authorship, narrative, and genre. This pursuit raised the contentious issue of the literary adaptation, the making of one text (a film) from an earlier text (novel, play, or short story). Adaptation was initially dominated by debates into a film’s fidelity (or, more often, infidelity) to the “original” text before medium specificity arguments raised the issue of the impossibility (and undesirability) of film attempting to replicate the source text. These debates instead drew attention to film’s distinct ways of storytelling, based on the medium’s specific system of codes and materials of expression.34

More generally, humanities scholars in comparative literature and modern languages engaged with the new theories developed in Europe, theories we can group under the heading “the language analysis tradition.” Dudley Andrew observes that “Because of their training, humanities professors are equipped to learn from foreign language texts. Popular essays by Lévi-Strauss, Barthes, and Eco and the extension of their insights by continental cultural critics had the effect of giving shape to a rebellious American sub-profession and of turning that rebellion onto new objects of culture.”35 The language analysis theoretical framework transformed humanities research in the 1960s and conferred upon film a privileged position. To understand the transformative effect of the language analysis tradition, we need to consider its formation at the beginning of the 20th century.

Twentieth-century thought is marked by a shift from idealist philosophy to language analysis. Language analysis rejects idealism, transforming its focus on private mental events (as in Descartes’s method of introspection) to the public perspective of language and signs. The structural linguist Ferdinand de Saussure and the American semiotician C. S. Peirce initiated a radical critique of Descartes’s and Kant’s idealist philosophy of the subject. The basic principles of this language analysis tradition included several ideas: meaning is defined intrinsically, as sense rather than reference; meaning derives from syntagmatic and paradigmatic relations; and the principle of economy, in which an infinite number of messages can be reduced to an underlying finite system that generated them. These analytical bases offered film and cultural theorists a framework in which to study and analyze the “symbolic order”: the realm of language, discourse, and other systems of signification—literature, fashion, gestures, and film. The language analysis tradition locates meaning within the symbolic order, divorcing it from the external world and human subjects. The study of meaning involves the analysis of individual language systems that constitute the symbolic.

The language analysis tradition also developed a new epistemology, constructivism. It does not analyze predetermined behavior, facts, or experiences in the manner of behaviorism, positivism, or phenomenology. Instead, it moves beyond the predetermined and the self-evident to analyze the virtual underlying system that generates and confers intelligibility on behavior, facts, and experiences. The “underlying reality” of systems of signification is not an empirical object simply waiting to be observed. Instead, it is an abstract object that needs to be modeled. This new, virtual object of study places theory center stage, for this abstract object becomes visible via theory. Further, each theory constructs its abstract object differently in accordance with its own concepts.

Modern film theory, beginning in the 1960s, conceived film as a sign system from the perspective of constructivist epistemology, which makes it a methodological theory in Casetti’s definition of the term. Modern film theory aims to make visible the underlying codes, structures, and absent causes that confer order and intelligibility upon films. These structures and causes, while not observable in themselves, are made visible by theory. The ultimate objective of film theory is to construct models of film’s nonobservable underlying systems and structures. Theories therefore offer explanatory depth rather than mere empirical generalizations.

From the perspective of language analysis and constructivist epistemology, film semioticians such as Christian Metz did not conceive “film” to be a preformed, unproblematic entity, nor did they try to define its essence. Instead, they aimed to define a film’s specificity by constructing a general model of its underlying system of codes. Metz’s first semiotic model was the grande syntagmatique, which (he believed) designated one of the primary codes underlying and lending structure to all narrative films. In “Problems of Denotation in the Fiction Film,”36 Metz identified an underlying cinematic code, a prior finite set of autonomous sequence (or syntagmatic) types in classical cinema, a paradigm of syntagmas from which a film maker can choose to represent profilmic events in a particular sequence. Each syntagma is identifiable by the specific way it structures the spatiotemporal relations between the profilmic events it depicts. Metz detected eight different spatiotemporal relationships in total, which constitute eight different forms of image ordering (syntagmas). These image syntagmas form a paradigm to the extent that they offer eight different ways of constructing an image sequence. Collectively, the eight syntagmatic types form a paradigm, a system of codes, because each syntagmatic type gains its meaning in relation to the other seven types.

In Language and Cinema,37 Metz continued to reconceive film as a semiotic object. To achieve this he introduced a series of theoretical distinctions: (a) between cinema/the filmic/the cinematic, in which “the cinematic” designates a subset of the filmic codes specific to film; (b) between cinematic codes (common to all films)/cinematic sub-codes (i.e., cinematic codes common to some films); and most importantly, (c) between codes/singular textual systems (underlying abstract systems/the totality of filmic and cinematic codes combined in a single film). Within this more expansive study, the cinematic language system, or cinematic specificity, is defined as a specific combination of codes and subcodes. Defining specificity as specific combination of codes has several implications for film semiotics: (a) cinematic codes cannot be studied in complete isolation as abstract paradigmatic systems, but can only be studied from a joint syntagmatic-paradigmatic perspective: that is, in terms of a combination of codes specific to film; (b) codes are not unique to one semiotic system, but belong to several systems: and (c) codes can only be studied in relation to their substance, not purely in terms of an underlying abstract formal system. In effect, Metz shifted the agenda of film semiotics toward the analysis of textual structures rather than the attempt to isolate specific codes.

Modern Film Theory’s “Objects” of Study: The Impression of Reality, Suture, and the Cinematic Apparatus

Metz’s work was translated into English and disseminated throughout British and American universities. The journal Screen was instrumental in this transmission. But soon after exploring Metz’s purely semiotic work (most notably in a famous double issue of 197338), this journal followed the journals Cahiers du cinéma (post 1968) and Cinéthique in combining semiotics with Lacanian psychoanalysis and especially Althusserian Marxism and Brechtian theory to develop a materialist knowledge of the ideology perpetuated by mainstream cinema. One key idea behind the Marxist theory of ideology is that ideology conceals the contradictions of capitalism, such as the irresolvable conflicts of inequality that exist between different social classes: “ideology has the precise function of hiding the real contradictions and of reconstituting on an imaginary level a relatively coherent discourse which serves as the horizon of agents’ experience.”39 Film theorists associated with Cahiers du cinéma, Cinéthique, and Screen (including Jean-Louis Comolli, Jean Narboni, Jean-Paul Fargier, Jean-Louis Baudry, Stephen Heath, Colin MacCabe, Laura Mulvey, and Peter Wollen) analyzed this ideological process of concealment in mainstream cinema by examining the way the imaginary impression of a coherent filmic discourse is produced. Dominant cinema constructs a specific ideological image of reality but then naturalizes that image and defines it as direct and natural, therefore unchangeable:

[Film] produces its own ideology: the impression of reality. There is nothing on the screen, only reflections and shadows, and yet the first idea that the audience gets is that reality is there, as it really is. [. . .]

If one understands that ideology always presents itself in the form of a body of ideas and pictures of reality which people spontaneously accept as true, as realistic, it is easy to see why the cinema, by its specific nature, plays such a privileged role in the general ideological process. It reinforces the impression that what looks realistic must be real, and thus reinforces the ideology it reflects. It presents it as true, by virtue of its self-evident existence on the screen.40

Stephen Heath defined how this fabricated impression of reality is created via the concept of suture.41 Each particular spectator is formally represented in filmic discourse via an abstract universal subject position, an empty position inscribed in the film that each spectator occupies. When a particular spectator does successfully occupy this subject position, he or she is sutured into the film, creating an impression of reality. But this impression is regularly shattered, especially when the spectator perceives the frame, which leads him or her to experience the emptiness of the universal formal subject position and his or her split from it. At that moment, the spectator is no longer sutured into the film. The film then works (typically via a new shot) to resuture the spectator back into the subject position by trying to eliminate the gap that opens up between the spectator and the image.

Jean-Louis Baudry theorized the way the entire cinematographic apparatus fabricates an impression of reality.42 He argued that it consists of two transformative processes: (a) transformation of the camera’s raw material (the profilmic events) into a finished product, a series of discontinuous images inscribed on a strip of film, and (b) transformation of the projector’s raw material (the series of discontinuous images) into a finished product, the “impression of reality,” the projection on screen of the light, continuity, and movement seized from the profilmic events. Rather than automatically reproduce the profilmic events, as the realist (Bazin, Kracauer) believed, the cinematographic apparatus transforms them into an imaginary reality, but it represses this process of transformation in an attempt to pass itself off as a neutral recording apparatus. For Baudry, the impression of reality is fabricated by the cinematographic apparatus itself, in much the same way that the psychic apparatus fabricates virtual images such as dreams and hallucinations. The impression of reality is an imaginary effect, the result of the illusory continuity of filmic space, which constitutes an illusory continuity of consciousness, a transcendental, psychic unity, in the spectator. Baudry took the seminal step of explaining this illusory fabrication of psychic unity (produced by means of an illusory spatial unity on screen) in terms of the experience of the infant at the mirror phase, for both experiences involve the constitution of a psychic unity via a continuous spatial image. The comparison of these two experiences is more than just a metaphor, according to Baudry, for he emphasized that both situations equally involve the individual’s immobility and a corresponding precocious maturation of visual organization.

Second-Wave Feminism and Psychoanalysis

After Language and Cinema, Metz continued to analyze film as a semiotic text, but on a deeper level, the primary (that is, unconscious) systems of signification that drive film, especially voyeurism. Metz no longer examined the filmic text as an autonomous entity, but studied how it addressed the spectator on an unconscious level. In “The Imaginary Signifier,” he argued that the conditions that constitute the pleasures associated with voyeurism are replicated in the cinema.43 The voyeur, removed from the space of his object of vision, experiences visual mastery and pleasure over that object through this secure and superior spatial position. Similarly, in the cinema: the filmed events exist in a different space (and time) to the spectator; there is no reciprocal relation between spectator and filmed events, for these events are absent, represented in effigy by the filmic signifier. For Metz, the filmic signifier therefore locates the spectator in a position equivalent to the space of the voyeur and confers upon him the same pleasures and resulting illusory, transcendental psychic unity.

Yet Metz did not sufficiently consider the psychosexual role of voyeurism: to act as a defense against the problems posed to the masculine psyche by feminine sexuality. It is precisely when the cinema acts as a defense against feminine sexuality that it is able to constitute an illusory, transcendental masculine psychic unity. Any analysis of the voyeuristic nature of cinema must therefore begin with the problematics of sexual difference.

Analysis of the problematics of sexual difference in the cinema is the primary object of study of second-wave feminist film theory. Laura Mulvey’s foundational essay “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema,” first published in Screen in 1975,44 is representative of this work. She shifted film feminism to the study of images as a semiotic form of discourse rather than a transparent window onto a preexisting reality (cf., the position of the sociological-reflectionist “images of women” approach to film, represented by Marjorie Rosen, Molly Haskell, and Joan Mellen). The image was conferred its own materiality, its own signifying power. Mulvey also expanded the object of study: not just a critique of the image, but also the unconscious ideological-patriarchal nature of the cinematic apparatus. Its semiotic creation of a male gaze, of gendered (masculine) subject positions, and patriarchal (Oedipal) narrative forms that regulate desire, defined it as masculine. The system of representation and the apparatus supporting that representation constitutes the object of study for second-wave feminist film theorists. The problem, Mulvey argued, lies in patriarchy and the male psyche: “I argued, with the help of psychoanalytic theory, that the sexualised image of woman says little or nothing about women’s reality, but is symptomatic of male fantasy and anxiety that are projected on to the female image. [. . .] The direction of the gaze shifted, satisfyingly, from woman as spectacle to the psyche that had need of such a spectacle.”45 Male fantasy, not “reality,” is film’s reference point.

Additional second-wave feminist film theorists—including Parveen Adams, Elizabeth Cowie, Mary Ann Doane, Teresa de Lauretis, Judith Mayne, Constance Penley, Jacqueline Rose, Kaja Silverman, and Linda Williams—critiqued, developed, and expanded Mulvey’s foundational essay. They generated several new lines of research, including theories of feminine subjectivity defined outside of masculine desire. Elizabeth Cowie argued that Freud’s theory of fantasy is more appropriate for theorizing gendered spectatorship because it represents the vicissitudes of spectatorship, in which the construction of a unified gendered identity is never compete and fixed.46 The theory of fantasy avoids the rigidity and essentialism of the static binary model of sexual identity.

Similarly, Tania Modleski challenged the rigidity and completeness conferred upon sexual identity by early feminist film theory. She stated in the opening pages of her book on women in Hitchcock that “what I want to argue is neither that Hitchcock is utterly misogynistic nor that he is largely sympathetic to women and their plight in patriarchy, but that his work is characterized by a thoroughgoing ambivalence about femininity.”47 Whereas Mulvey discussed Lisa Freemont in Rear Window (Hitchcock, 1954) as a passive object and spectacle, Modleski argued that “Lisa Freemont is anything but helpless and incapable, despite Mulvey’s characterization of her as a ‘passive image of visual perfection’ – and this where the ‘problem’ lies.”48 Modleski implies that Mulvey produced a very selective feminist reading of Lisa Freemont’s role in Rear Window, and Modelski’s analysis of the film opens it up to feminine sexuality articulated beyond rigid, essentialist binary oppositions of patriarchy.

Mulvey’s essay raised concerns among other feminist film theorists about the role of psychoanalysis in feminism, of the masculine bias within the Freudian and Lacanian theories of sexuality. In other words, psychoanalytic film theory was accused of being normatively heterosexual. But Mulvey’s justification of psychoanalysis is forthright: “Psychoanalytic theory is [. . .] appropriated here as a political weapon, demonstrating the way the unconscious of patriarchal society has structured film form.”49 Mulvey did not regard psychoanalysis as a series of immutable propositions that one must adhere to, but instead she regarded it as a body of knowledge that can be used strategically and politically to expose the contradictions of patriarchal society.

Nonetheless, while psychoanalysis addresses the marginalization of femininity within patriarchy, it marginalizes in its turn gay and lesbian identities. Queer theory addresses the formation of gay and lesbian identity, relying heavily on Judith Butler’s seminal performative theory of gender: “Building on Butler’s Foucauldian account of gender not as an essence or even a symbolic entity but rather as a practice,” writes Robert Stam, “queer theorists criticized the coercive binarism of sexual difference, favoring instead hybrid permutations of gay and straight, lesbian and bisexual.”50 Stam goes on to point out that feminist film theorists such as de Lauretis (as well as Chris Straayer, amongst others) “‘queered’ psychoanalytic theory by revising its notions of fetishism, castration, and the oedipal narrative by pointing out the ways in which such categories became insufficient when seen through a gay or lesbian grid.”51 In addition, queer theorists promoted the work of lesbian and gay auteurs and adopted a symptomatic reading strategy that identified queer moments (symptoms) in mainstream cinema.

Modern Film Theory and the Avant-Garde

The obverse side of modern film theory’s ideological and feminist critique of mainstream cinema was its promotion of a political modernist avant-garde cinema, an oppositional cinema that does not function as a vehicle for dominant ideology but instead reflexively investigates its own materiality, contradictions, and conditions of production. By exposing rather than concealing contradictions, this political cinema deconstructs the impression of a coherent filmic discourse that ideology sets up. Key to modern theory was the politics of form, an analysis of the immanent structure of film and its political ramifications, rather than a promotion of the political content of film. Many modern film theorists ended up criticizing films with political content because these films continue to employ dominant, naturalistic practices of filmmaking and to promote formalist, avant-garde practices with very little content but with a revolutionary critique of dominant ideology.

This avant-garde practice was strikingly articulated in feminist filmmaking, which attempted to develop new, specifically cinematic feminist aesthetics. Mulvey asked: “Does the very act of opposing traditional aesthetics and questioning male-dominated language generate a new language and carry an aesthetic with it? It is at this point that feminists have recently come to see the modernist avant-garde as relevant to their own struggle to develop a radical approach to art.”52 Mulvey argued that feminist avant-garde cinema rejects identification (alignment of spectator’s look to the male character’s look via the camera’s look), narrative, woman as spectacle/image, and classical continuity editing and instead is characterized by modernist techniques such as the “surprising and excessive use of the camera, unfamiliar framing of scenes and the human body,”53 an aesthetic Mulvey and Wollen practiced in their own films, including the 360-degree circular camera movements in Riddles of the Sphinx (1977). Several feminist film theorists pursued the links between feminism, avant-garde cinema, and theory throughout the 1970s and 1980s: not only Mulvey, but also E. Ann Kaplan, Annette Kuhn, Patricia Mellencamp, Constance Penley, and Lauren Rabinovitz.54

New Lacanians

While numerous film scholars “engage” with Lacan, Žižek notes that “except for Joan Copjec, myself and some of my Slovene colleagues, I know of no cinema theorists who effectively accepts Lacan as his or her ultimate background.” Žižek argues that “the reading of Lacan operative in the 70s and 80s was a reductive one – there is ‘another Lacan’ reference to whom can contribute to the revitalization of the cinema theory (and of critical thought in general) today.”55 This “other Lacan” is promoted by the New Lacanians, who

emphasize Lacan’s late notions of drive, jouissance, and the real at the expense of his early concepts of desire, the imaginary, and the symbolic; most are more interested in cultural studies and elements of popular culture than in literature [or film] alone; most construe the universe as ironic, tragic, or perversely paradoxical (so that everything contains its opposite); and because most color culture and its artifacts in dark tones, they are fascinated by film noir and related forms and themes.56

For the New Lacanians (not only Žižek, but also Joan Copjec, Juliet Flower MacCannell, Todd McGowan, and others), the terms “patriarchy,” “modernism,” and “monopoly capitalism” are no longer adequate in naming the way contemporary Western societies are organized. The New Lacanians replace these terms with “post-patriarchal,” “post-Oedipal,” “postmodern,” and “global capitalism.” To that extent, they belong to Casetti’s category of the “field theorist.” In their reading of Lacan, the New Lacanians shift emphasis away from the imaginary-symbolic towards the imaginary-real. Whereas Metz focused on the imaginary signifier and Mulvey focused on the symbolic regulation of desire and sexual difference, the New Lacanians stress the fictional status of the symbolic/the Other with an emphasis on jouissance (unregulated desire) rather than Oedipal desire regulated by the symbolic. They emphasize the fictional status of the symbolic/the Other and the constitutive role of fantasy in social organization. Fantasy is not formulated in opposition to social reality but is enabling because it structures the social reality itself.

The New Lacanian perspective is premised (much more than modern film theory) on negativity—on alienation, antagonism, contradiction, dislocation, division, failure, gaps, instability, and paradox. Negativity is articulated through the logic of the Hegelian dialectic, premised on ceaseless contradiction between always emerging opposing ideas. This negativity triggers the necessity for fantasy, ideology, suture, and the universal, which attempt to repress this negativity and create the impression of smoothness, totality, fullness, stability, and self-enclosure. But these attempts necessarily fail; it is impossible to achieve fullness within a system that contains within itself its own negation.

Cognitive Film Theory

Cognitive film theory emerged in the 1980s as an alternative to all the facets of modern film theory—semiotics, psychoanalysis, Marxism, feminism, and the New Lacanians.57 Cognitivists share with the modernists a focus on the specific nature of the interface between film and spectator. In Narration in the Fiction Film, David Bordwell developed a schema-based theory of filmic comprehension.58 Cognitive psychologists define schemata as abstract, transcendental, static, top-down (rather than bottom-up) structures of the mind that organize perceptual input into coherent mental representations. Schemata are finite abstract structures that interact with an infinite amount of perceptual data to form experiences. In this sense, schemata constitute the generative capacity of the mind to comprehend perceptions recurrently. Bordwell develops his theory within the Constructivist school of cognitive psychology, which studies the activity of the perceiver in generating hypotheses and inferences to make sense of inherently fragmentary and incomplete perceptual input. From this perspective, Bordwell conceptualizes the narrative film as an inherently incomplete form of discourse (as with all other forms of discourse). More specifically, he argued that the narrative film’s logical form is incomplete but is enriched, or completed, by the spectator’s activity of inference generation.

Bordwell’s theory is primarily a top-down account of information processing; from this perspective, perceptual data (in this instance, narrative films) are conceived as a set of cues interacting with the spectator’s cognitive capacity (in this instance, the cause–effect schema), triggering and constraining her activity of inference generation. The plot structure (syuzhet) of a narrative film cues and constrains the story construction activities of the spectator as to enable her to form the space, time, and cause–effect dimensions of the film (its story, or fabula) into a single, coherent mental representation.

He conceives schemata as transcendental, functioning to construct literal meaning in isolation from both language and the body. Other cognitivists (Noël Carroll, Ed Tan, Murray Smith, Margrethe Bruun Vaage, Carl Plantinga, Torben Grodal, Greg M. Smith, among them) emphasize the importance of emotion in film experience. Emotions are not simply feelings a spectator experiences; they are linked to higher-level cognitive states such as intentionality, imagination, and evaluation. A spectator’s relation to characters is central to their emotional response to a film, especially sympathy and empathy. For Murray Smith, sympathy is a form of acentral imagining, or imagining from the outside of a character, while empathy is a form of central imagining, or imagining from the inside of a character’s experience.59 Smith argues that sympathy–acentral imagining is the default position in watching narrative films, a position in which spectators do not need to replicate, mimic, or mirror a character’s emotions to understand their actions, motivations, and desires.

Closely linked to the cognitive study of emotion is the study of the embodied mind thesis, a popular approach to cognitive film theory that stipulates that filmic meaning is constructed via the interaction of film, body, mind, and environment. The agenda of cognitive theories of cinematic embodiment is cogently articulated in Embodied Cognition and Cinema.60 The editors of the volume, Maarten Coëgnarts and Peter Kravanja, point out that contributors “analyse how the embodied mind thesis relates to three formal aspects of meaning-making in cinema: the narrative, the visual film style, and film music.” Contributors also study “intersubjectivity, empathy and embodied simulation mechanisms.” Finally, they “examine the way in which filmmakers use embodied modes of representation to convey abstract meaning to the viewer”—abstractions such as “character perception, time, morality, emotions, and the filmic frame.”61 More generally, film theorists draw from four main disciplines to develop embodied accounts of film spectatorship: socio-cultural theory, phenomenology, neurophysiology, and theories of the cognitive unconscious.62

Film Theory and Philosophy

In the 1990s, several distinct philosophical approaches to film became popular. Analytic philosophy of film explores film via concepts such as likeness, intentionality, agency, expression, cognitivism, the fiction/nonfiction distinction, film content, and emotional response, while debunking modern theoretical concepts such as illusion, deception, the “death of the author,” Brechtian alienation effect, subject positioning, identification, and the unconscious. There is a significant overlap between cognitive film theory and the analytic philosophy of film, which is expressed most clearly in Gregory Currie’s book Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy and Cognitive Science and in the collection of essays Film Theory and Philosophy.63

In his two cinema books The Movement Image and The Time Image, the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze offers an alternative to the abstractions of modern film theory with a philosophy of the film as an embodied, spatiotemporal event.64 Deleuze considers cinema to be a specific mode of thought/way of thinking (film as philosophy). He examines time, movement, and perception, from the perspective of Henri Bergson’s philosophy. Bergson promoted the study of experience and intuition over rational thinking and metaphysics. He devoted his research to topics such as time and identity, free will, perception, change, memory, and consciousness.

Phenomenological approaches to film also emerged in the 1990s as an alternative to the disembodied abstractions of modern film theory. In her groundbreaking volume The Address of the Eye, Vivian Sobchack adopts the existential phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty to describe cinematic experience in terms of the spectator’s body: “The film experience is a system of communication based on bodily perception as a vehicle of conscious expression. It entails the visible, audible, kinetic aspects of sensible experience to make sense visibly, audibly, haptically.”65 Sobchack develops this philosophical approach to embodied viewing by positing that spectators access film via their body, not simply via the distanced senses of sight and hearing. Similarly, Steven Shaviro argues in The Cinematic Body that the intangible film, although based on sight and hearing, has a direct, immediate, and visceral effect of the spectator’s body: “Images literally assault the spectator, leaving him or her no space for reflection. [. . .] Images themselves are immaterial, but their effect is all the more physical and corporeal.”66 These two influential volumes helped to shape phenomenological approaches to film, including Jennifer Barker’s The Tactile Eye: Touch and the Cinematic Experience, and Laura Marks’ The Skin of the Film.67

Finally, the popular film-philosophy movement employs philosophy differently. Rodowick argues that, whereas film theories take films as objects of knowledge and examine what film is, the film-philosophy movement “turns to film to examine and clarify problems and concepts that are of concern to philosophy. Paradoxically, this means that a (film) philosophy is not necessarily a part of film studies; rather, it belongs to philosophy alone. Philosophy explains nothing ‘about’ film. However, it might have a lot to say about why and how film and the arts matter to us, why we value them, and how we try to make sense of ourselves and the world with and through them.”68

Film theory is valuable to the extent that it does not study film as an unproblematic, predetermined entity, but rather as a complex and little understood medium with its own properties and cultural and social effects. Film theory therefore challenges and goes beyond the common-sense ideological understanding of film as a mere form of harmless entertainment; instead it maintains that film is an intrinsically significant medium integral to contemporary society.

Further Reading

Andrew, Dudley. The Major Film Theories: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.Find this resource:

    Andrew, Dudley. Concepts in Film Theory. New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.Find this resource:

      Arnheim, Rudolf. Film as Art. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957.Find this resource:

        Bazin, André. What is Cinema? Translated by Hugh Gray. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.Find this resource:

          Branigan, Edward, and Warren Buckland, eds. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014.Find this resource:

            Coëgnarts, Maarten, and Peter Kravanja, eds. Embodied Cognition and Cinema. Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

              Colman, Felicity. Creating a Cinematic Grammar. London: Wallflower, 2014.Find this resource:

                Elsaesser, Thomas, and Malte Hagener. Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses. 2d ed. New York: Routledge, 2015.Find this resource:

                  McDonald, Kevin. Film Theory: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2016.Find this resource:

                    Mulvey, Laura. Visual and Other Pleasures. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1989.Find this resource:

                      Nichols, Bill, ed. Movies and Methods. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.Find this resource:

                        Nichols, Bill, ed. Movies and Methods, vol. 2. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986.Find this resource:

                          Stam, Robert, and Toby Miller, eds. A Companion to Film Theory. Oxford: Blackwell, 1999.Find this resource:

                            Wollen, Peter. Signs and Meaning in the Cinema. 5th ed. London: BFI, 2013.Find this resource:


                              (1.) D. N. Rodowick, Elegy for Theory (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014), xi.

                              (2.) Peter Wollen, Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, 5th ed. (London: BFI, 2013).

                              (3.) Dudley Andrew, The Major Film Theories: An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976).

                              (4.) Dudley Andrew, Concepts in Film Theory (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984).

                              (5.) Andrew, Concepts in Film Theory, 11.

                              (6.) Francesco Casetti, Theories of Cinema, 1945–1995 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1995).

                              (7.) Casetti, Theories of Cinema, 12.

                              (8.) Casetti, Theories of Cinema, 180.

                              (9.) D. N. Rodowick, The Crisis of Political Modernism: Criticism and Ideology in Contemporary Film Theory (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1988).

                              (10.) Rodowick, Elegy for Theory, 152–200.

                              (11.) Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener, Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses, 2d ed. (New York: Routledge, 2015).

                              (12.) Elsaesser and Hagener, Film Theory, 4.

                              (13.) Warren Buckland, Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions (Abingdon: Routledge, 2012).

                              (14.) Robert Lapsley and Michael Westlake, Film Theory: An Introduction, 2d ed. (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2006); Robert Stam, Film Theory: An Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000); and Richard Rushton and Gary Bettinson , What is Film Theory? An Introduction to Contemporary Debates (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2010).

                              (15.) Felicity Colman, Creating a Cinematic Grammar (London: Wallflower, 2014); and Kevin McDonald, Film Theory: The Basics (London: Routledge, 2016).

                              (16.) Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen, eds., Film Theory and Criticism. Introductory Readings, 8th ed. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016).

                              (17.) Bill Nichols, ed., Movies and Methods (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976).

                              (18.) Bill Nichols, ed., Movies and Methods, vol. 2 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1986).

                              (19.) Philip Rosen, ed., Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology: A Film Theory Reader (New York: Columbia University Press, 1986).

                              (20.) Toby Miller and Robert Stam, eds., Film and Theory: An Anthology (Oxford: Blackwell, 2000).

                              (21.) Robert Stam and Toby Miller, eds., A Companion to Film Theory (Oxford: Blackwell, 1999).

                              (22.) Marc Furstenau, ed., Film Theory Reader: Debates and Arguments (New York: Routledge, 2010).

                              (23.) D. N. Rodowick, “An Elegy for Theory,” October 122 (2007): 91–109.

                              (24.) Edward Branigan and Warren Buckland, eds., The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory (Abingdon: Routledge, 2014).

                              (25.) Branigan and Buckland, The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory, xiv.

                              (26.) Ibid., xxiii.

                              (27.) Timothy Corrigan, Patricia White, and Meta Mazaj, eds., Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings (Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011).

                              (28.) K. J. Shepherdson, Philip Simpson, and Andrew Utterson, Film Theory: Critical Concepts in Media and Cultural Studies (New York: Routledge, 2004).

                              (30.) André Bazin, What is Cinema?, trans. by Hugh Gray (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967).

                              (31.) Rudolf Arnheim, Film as Art (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1957).

                              (32.) Warren Buckland, Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster (New York: Continuum, 2006).

                              (33.) Noël Carroll, Philosophical Problems of Classical Film Theory (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1988).

                              (34.) See Andrew, Concepts in Film Theory, chapter 6, for a concise overview of the debates around adaptation. Studies of film adaptation continue to grow. Thomas Leitch presents detailed overviews in two review essays: “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Adaptation: Especially If You’re Looking Forwards Rather than Backwards,” Literature/Film Quarterly 33 (2005): 234–45 and “Adaptation Studies at a Crossroads,” Adaptation 1.1 (2008): 63–77.

                              (35.) Andrew, Concepts in Film Theory, 6.

                              (36.) Christian Metz, Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema, trans. Michael Taylor (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974), 108–46.

                              (37.) Christian Metz, Language and Cinema, trans. D.-J. Umiker-Sebeok (The Hague: Mouton, 1974).

                              (38.) Paul Willemen ed., Cinema Semiotics and the Work of Christian Metz. Special Issue of Screen, 14.1–2 (1973).

                              (39.) Nicos Poulantzas, quoted in Jorge Larrain The Concept of Ideology (London: Hutchinson, 1979), 46.

                              (40.) Jean-Paul Fargier, “Parenthesis or Indirect Route,” Screen 12.2 (1971): 136–7.

                              (41.) Stephen Heath, “Notes on Suture,” Screen 18.4 (1977–78): 48–76.

                              (42.) Jean-Louis Baudry, “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus,” Film Quarterly 28.2 (1974–75): 39–47, and “The Apparatus,” Camera Obscura 1 (1976): 104–28.

                              (43.) Christian Metz, “The Imaginary Signifier,” Screen 16.2 (1975): 14–76.

                              (44.) Republished in Laura Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1989), 14–27.

                              (45.) Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures, xiii–xiv.

                              (46.) Elizabeth Cowie, Representing the Woman: Cinema and Psychoanalysis (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1997).

                              (47.) Tania Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much: Hitchcock and Feminist Theory (New York: Routledge, 1988), 3.

                              (48.) Modleski, The Women Who Knew Too Much, 72.

                              (49.) Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures, 14.

                              (50.) Stam, Film Theory, 263.

                              (51.) Ibid., 265.

                              (52.) Mulvey, Visual and Other Pleasures, 112.

                              (53.) Ibid., 125.

                              (54.) E. Ann Kaplan, Women and Film: Both Sides of the Camera (London: Methuen, 1983); Annette Kuhn, Women’s Pictures: Feminism and Cinema (London: Routledge, 1982); Patricia Mellencamp, Indiscretions: Avant-Garde Film, Video, and Feminism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990); Constance Penley, “The Avant-Garde and Its Imaginary,” Camera Obscura 2 (1977): 2–33; and Lauren Rabinovitz, Points of Resistance: Women, Power and Politics in the New York Avant-Garde Cinema, 1943–71 (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1991).

                              (55.) Slavoj Žižek, The Fright of Real Tears: Krzysztof Kieslowski Between Theory and Post-Theory (London: British Film Institute, 2001), 7.

                              (56.) James Mellard, “Lacan and the New Lacanians: Josephine Hart’s Damage, Lacanian Tragedy, and the Ethics of Jouissance,” PMLA 113.3 (1998): 395.

                              (57.) Cf. Warren Buckland’s The Cognitive Semiotics of Film (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000), which attempts to find links and overlaps between the two paradigms.

                              (58.) David Bordwell, Narration in the Fiction Film (London: Routledge, 1985).

                              (59.) Murray Smith, Engaging Characters: Fiction, Emotion, and the Cinema (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995).

                              (60.) Maarten Coëgnarts and Peter Kravanja, eds., Embodied Cognition and Cinema (Leuven: Leuven University Press, 2015).

                              (61.) Coëgnarts and Kravanja, Embodied Cognition and Cinema, 18.

                              (62.) Ibid., 32. See also Kathrin Fahlenbrach, ed., Embodied Metaphors in Film, Television, and Video Games: Cognitive Approaches (New York: Routledge, 2016).

                              (63.) Gregory Currie, Image and Mind: Film, Philosophy, and Cognitive Science (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1995); and Richard Allen and Murray Smith, eds., Film Theory and Philosophy (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997).

                              (64.) Gilles Deleuze, Cinema 1: The Movement Image, trans. H. Tomlinson and B. Habberjam (London: Athlone, 1986); and Cinema 2: The Time Image, trans. H. Tomlinson and R. Galeta (London: Athlone, 1989).

                              (65.) Vivian Sobchack, The Address of the Eye: A Phenomenology of Film Experience (New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1992), 9.

                              (66.) Steven Shaviro, The Cinematic Body (Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press, 1993), 50–1.

                              (67.) Jennifer M. Barker, The Tactile Eye: Touch and the Cinematic Experience (Berkeley: California University Press, 2009); and Laura U. Marks, The Skin of the Film (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000).

                              (68.) D. N. Rodowick, Philosophy’s Artful Conversation (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2015), 297–298.