Download Cinema and Spectatorship (Sightlines) by Judith Mayne PDF

By Judith Mayne

Cinema and Spectatorship is the 1st ebook to concentration totally at the heritage and position of the spectator in modern movie reviews. whereas Seventies movie concept insisted on a contrast betweeen the cinematic topic and film-goers, Judith Mayne means that a really actual friction among "subjects" and "viewers" is in truth imperative to the learn of spectatorship.
In the book's first part Mayne examines 3 theoretical types of spectatorship: the perceptual, the institutional and the ancient, whereas the second one part specializes in case reports which crystallize a number of the matters already mentioned, targeting textual research, the `disrupting genre', `star-gazing' and at last the viewers itself. Case reviews incude where of the spectator within the textual research of person motion pictures akin to The photograph of Dorian Gray; the development of Bette Davis' superstar personality; fantasies of race and movie viewing in Field of Dreams and Ghost; and homosexual and lesbian audiences as "critical" audiences. The booklet presents a truly thorough and available evaluation of this advanced, fragmented and sometimes debatable region of movie idea.

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Sample text

Death of the Father would deprive literature of many of its pleasures,” Barthes writes. “If there is no longer a Father, why tell stories? Doesn’t every narrative lead back to Oedipus? ” (1975:47). Barthes defines the common denominator between Oedipus and narrative as the desire for knowledge about one’s self—one’s masculine self, presumably. In the version of psychoanalysis which came to characterize 1970s film theory, the fusion of narrative and oedipal desire is complete; scenarios of castration anxiety and loss were identified as fundamental to the classical cinema (see Silverman 1983 and 1988).

The dual emphasis on identity and its failures is crucial to how Lacan was brought to bear on film theory, for central to the Lacanian notion of desire is a continuous process whereby desires are never satisfied, thus assuring an economy of desire which reinforces, in its turn, the wish to return to the cinema again and again. More specifically, Lacanian psychoanalysis has been adapted to film theory to explain precisely what cinematic address to the subject entails, an adaptation that follows—although more intensely—the parallel influence of Lacan’s work on other areas similarly taken up with the place of the subject (see Silverman 1983).

This need for autonomy in the understanding of individual sign systems could be applied, of course, to any ideological form. Theorists of the cinema went further in defining the particular interest of cinema by stressing its emblematic quality. The cinema, it was argued, is a dense system of meaning, one that borrows from so many different discourses—of fashion, of narrative, of politics, of advertising, and so on—that it offers particularly rich possibilities for ideological understanding. The argument went still further; the cinema was not just any form of entertainment but rather one that embodied deep-seated myths and ideologies central to the functioning of modern, Western industrialized countries.

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