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Psychoanalytic film theory occurred in two distinct waves
Originally published in French, Althusser’s essay theorized the fundamental operation of ideology as the formation of the subject. Though Althusser was not a psychoanalyst or a psychoanalytic theorist, traditional psychoanalytic film theorists took up this idea as foundational for their approach to the cinema and began to see the cinema itself as a place where the spectator was constituted ideologically as a subject. Available .
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Though Freud never discusses the cinema or the analogy between dreams and films, this work provided much inspiration for psychoanalytic film theorists. Freud interprets the dream as the “disguised fulfillment of a wish” or as a fantasy, and this leads to the analysis of the cinema as a fantasy space.
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This book of his essays, superbly translated and edited by Jay Leyda, reprints some of his most vital writings on the art of the cinema, including articles on the language and structure of the movies, the differences between theater and film, and the author's efforts to adapt Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy for the screen.
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In "The Cinematic Principle and the Ideogram," Eisenstein analyzes the written symbols of the Japanese language as a model for film editing. "Dickens, Griffith, and the Film Today," one of the author's most famous pieces, speaks of Griffith as a Dickensian director and then argues for a kind of filmmaking that transcends Griffith's literal style in order to touch its audience on an ideological and metaphorical level.
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Feminist theory has been foundational to the establishment and development of film studies as a discipline. Although it often gets reduced to key theoretical—primarily psychoanalytic—analyses of spectatorship from the 1970s and 1980s, it has always been and continues to be a dynamic area with many objects of focus and diverse methodological practices. The work cited here offers a sampling of this breadth, historically and topically. Researchers will find how the subfields of authorship, genre, star studies, film history, spectatorship, and reception studies have been enriched and evolved through feminist approaches. Research that highlights facets of identity such as sexuality and race is given special attention throughout, and this emphasis is also addressed in separate sections. Global and/or transnational approaches are highlighted, as are feminist approaches to thinking about the body and cinema. The diversity of scholarship included in this article testifies that feminism moves beyond thinking purely about gender or sexual difference toward the ways in which power and difference shape the cinematic terrain.