Post-theory: Reconstructing Film Studies

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Since the 1970s, film scholars have been searching for a unified theory that will explain all types of film, their production and their reception; the field has been dominated by structuralist Marxism, varieties of cultural theory and the psychoanalytic ideas of Freud and Lacan. The authors of this text ask why not employ many theories tailored to specific goals, rather than search for a unified theory. They offer directions for understanding film, presenting essays by 27 scholars on topics as diverse as film scores, audience response and the national film industries of Russia, Scandinavia, the US and Japan. Using historical, philosophical, psychological and feminist methods, the book examines issues such as: what goes on when viewers perceive a film?; how do filmmakers exploit conventions?; how do movies create illusions?; and how does a film arouse emotion?