What do you consider as the most foundational and generative film theories covered in this course? Explain your reasons why, and critically assess the theories.
Foundational theories are theories that one can build off which is essentially the evolution of all theories and the connections we can make between them. The two foundations to this idea that I will look into are the theories: the Cinema as Window and Frame and Cinema as the Eye - Look and Gaze. The notion of looking through a window to a frame is critical and once the apparatus is identified, everything else follows. Once we acknowledge that the frame, or apparatus, is formalist, we can acknowledge that the window is aligned with realism. This leads to theorists like Astruc who claim that the camera is an extension of the human mind. He compares is to that of a pen of a writer and that the camera and the mind work on a continuum. Similarly, to how the frame and the window are a continuum. Another foundational theory is the cinema as the eye in which we “regard the eye as an interface between spectator and film” which leads to “distinguishing among several configurations that shape the look and the activity of seeing in different ways”. This leads to sensory theories and opens a door for other parts of the body such as the ears.
In my paper I will dive deeper into the original foundational theories I have chosen and then connect them to newer theories we have discussed in class and explain how this is connected through evolution. With more research, I’ll explain how these secondary, or later theories have been influenced by the originals. As an apposing argument, which I have yet to research, I will be diving into a theory that seems to be singular and not effected by the two original theories in which I am discussing. I will also be talking about the upsides and downsides of viewing these theories as a sort of evolution. For example, this may influence one’s responses to theories being created thus creating more, but it may also limit opportunities to expand newer theories because it assumes that there is always something newer to look towards.
Hagener, Malte, and Thomas Elsaesser. “‘Chapter 1: Cinema as Window and Frame.” Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses, 2nd ed., Routledge, Taylor & Francis Ltd, NY, 2015.
I will be using this to briefly explain the concepts of the window and the frame. There is a sort of assumption that this is a sight sensory experience which theories later expand and improve upon by including more senses.
Corrigan, Timothy, et al. “Rudolph Arnheim: ‘Film and Reality.’” Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, 2011, pp. 279–289.
Arnheim is constantly reminding us that film is the product or combination of various mediums such as painting, art, literature, and theater. We are reminded that film is not the foundation, but it is just part of the evolution of mediums that allow us to express. This will be useful when talking about evolution beyond film.
Hagener, Malte, and Thomas Elsaesser. “Chapter 4: Cinema as Eye – Look and Gaze.” Film Theory: An Introduction Through the Senses, 2nd ed., Routledge, Taylor & Francis Ltd, NY, 2015.
This theory will connect with not only the window and the frame but allow for a transition or “evolution” between the previous and the new sensory theories such as the body or sound/ear.
Corrigan, Timothy, et al. “David Bordwell :The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice – Realism, Authorship, Ambiguity.” Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, 2011.
Using Bordwell’s theory that there is a sort of cause-and-effect relationship within narrative films and that there are linkages that allow us to form connections between two things. This theory can be used to explain how we have continually grown upon theories but also grown upon cinema narratives over time. Even though something may seem like a new concept, it is inspired by something from the past. (Painting to picture example)
Corrigan, Timothy, et al. “John Berger: From Ways of Seeing.” Critical Visions in Film Theory: Classic and Contemporary Readings, Bedford/St. Martin's, Boston, 2011.
“Images were first made to conjure up the appearance of something that was absent” “All images are manmade” – These quotes allow for a deeper understanding to just how conscious and alive film is and is a great argument as to why we should continue to the evolution of theories. The foundations, although important, can not stand alone without more information. This need to fill an absent space thrusts us into more knowledge and more intellectual thinking about film theories.