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Film theory: the basics

Film theory: the basics

McDonald, Kevin, 1976- author

Film Theory: The Basics provides an accessible introduction to the key theorists, concepts, and debates that have shaped the study of moving images. It examines film theory from its emergence in the early twentieth century to its study in the present day, and explores why film has drawn special attention as a medium, as a form of representation, and as a focal point in the rise of modern visual culture. The book emphasizes how film theory has developed as a historically contingent discourse, one that has evolved and changed in conjunction with different social, political, and intellectual factors. To explore this fully, the book is broken down into the following distinct sections: Theory Before Theory, 1915-1960 French Theory, 1949-1968 Screen Theory, 1969-1996 Post-Theory, 1996-2015 Complete with questions for discussion and a glossary of both key terms and key theorists, Film Theory: The Basics is an invaluable resource for those new to film studies and for anyone else interested in the history and significance of critical thinking in relation to the moving image

eBook, Electronic resource, Book. English. Electronic books.
Published London: Routledge, 2016
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Statement of responsibility: Kevin McDonald
ISBN: 1317632435, 9781317632436
Note: Formerly CIP.
Note: Includes bibliographical references and index.
Physical Description: 1 volume
Series: The basics
Subject: Media studies; Motion pictures Philosophy.; Media Studies
Reproduction: Electronic reproduction. Askews and Holts. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Series Title: Basics.
Other formats: Also available in printed form ISBN 9781138797338


  1. Introduction
  2. 1 Theory Before Theory, 1915-1960
  3. I. Early American Theorists and the Quest for Legitimacy
  4. II. France, Film Culture, and Photogénie
  5. III. Soviet Russia and Montage Theory
  6. IV. Germany and the Frankfurt School
  7. V. Post-War France: From Neorealism to the New Wave
  8. Summary
  9. 2 French Theory, 1949-1968
  10. I. The Linguistic Turn
  11. II. Lacan and the Return to Freud
  12. III. Althusser and the Return to Marx
  13. IV. Cinema and Semiotics
  14. V. May 1968 and Afterward
  15. Summary
  16. 3 Screen Theory, 1969-1996
  17. I. Screenand Theory
  18. II. Feminist Film Theory
  19. III. Postcolonial Theory
  20. IV. Queer Theory
  21. V. A Postmodern End
  22. Summary
  23. 4 Post-Theory, 1996-2015
  24. I. Theory's Critics, Cognitive Science, and Historical Poetics
  25. II. Deleuze and the Return of Philosophy
  26. III. New Media and Post-Film Theory
  27. Summary
  28. Appendix I: Glossary of Key Terms
  29. Appendix II: Glossary of Key Theorists
  30. Bibliography

Author note

Kevin McDonaldis a Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies at California State University, Northridge where he teaches popular culture and cultural theory. His research focuses on film theory and contemporary Hollywood. He is currently co-editing a collection entitled The Netflix Effect.