Jean-Louis Comolli’s six-part essay Technique and Ideologyhad a revolutionary effect on film theory and history when it first appeared in Cahiers du Cinéma in 1971. In 2009, Comolli revisited his earlier text, arguing that the present age, marked by the total dominance of media-filtered spectacle over image production, makes the need for an 'emancipated, critical spectator' more pressing than ever. In this volume, Daniel Fairfax presents annotated translations of these two texts to provide an overview of Comolli’s activity as both a theorist and a filmmaker.
From 1968 to 1991 the acclaimed film theorist Christian Metz wrote several remarkable books on film theory: Essais sur la signifi cation au cinéma, tome1 et 2; Langage et cinéma; Le signifiant imaginaire; and L’Enonciation impersonnelle. These books set the agenda of academic film studies during its formative period. Metz’s ideas were taken up, digested, refined,reinterpreted, criticized and sometimes dismissed, but rarely ignored.This volume collects and translates into English for the first time a series of interviews with Metz, who offers readable summaries,elaborations, and explanations of his sometimes complex and demanding theories of film. He speaks informally of the most fundamental concepts that constitute the heart of film theory as an academic discipline — concepts borrowed from linguistics, semiotics, rhetoric, narratology, and psychoanalysis.Within the colloquial language of the interview, we witness Metz’s initial formation and development of his film theory. The interviewers act as curious readers who pose probing questions to Metz about his books, and seek clarification and elaboration of his key concepts. We also discover the contents of his unpublished manuscript on jokes, his relation to Roland Barthes, and the social networks operative in the French intellectual community during the 1970s and 1980s.
For the first time this volume makes Jean-Pierre Meunier’s insightful thoughts on the film experience available for an English-speaking readership. Introduced and commented by specialists in film studies and philosophy, Meunier’s intricate phenomenological descriptions of the spectator’s engagement with fiction films, documentaries and home movies can reach the wide audience they have deserved ever since their publication in French in 1969.
Towards a Political Aesthetics of Cinema: The Outside of Film is a contribution to an aesthetics of cinema rooted in Marxist theory. Rather than focusing on the role that certain films, or the cinema as an institution, might play in political consciousness, the book asks a different question: how can the subject of politics in film be thought? This problem is presented in a systematic-theoretical rather than historical manner. The main aim of this book is a retrospective rehabilitation of the psychoanalytical concept of "suture," whose political core is progressively revealed. In a second step, this rereading of "suture"-theory is mediated with the Marxist aesthetics of Fredric Jameson. From the perspective of this reconfigured aesthetics of negativity, films by Hitchcock, Antonioni, Haneke and Kubrick are analyzed as articulations of a political unconscious.