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The latter half of the twentieth century witnessed a swift decline in the popularity and significance of cinemagoing in the West, associated with suburbanization and the rise of competitor media like rock and roll and television. From the 1990s, cinema release was repositioned as a cornerstone of multimedia-themed product lines, including alternative forms of distribution and exhibition (in-flight entertainment, video, broadcast, DVD, and Webstreaming) and spin-offs such as sound-track albums, novelizations, comic books, franchised toys, board and computer games, and fast-food branding. Moribund profit centers like celebrity gossip magazines were revivified, and new ones like product placement inaugurated. Integration of print, TV, theme parks, and Internet companies into massive corporations allowed for an increasing cross-marketing of products in cycles of which film was only one instance. In this transition from mass spectacle to integrated media product, it might have been difficult to retain respect for cinema as "the seventh art." Nonetheless, during this period and into the early twenty-first century, there has been vigorous interest in the medium of film.

The Language of Cinema

As a broad generalization, the development of cinema studies since 1970 has been shaped by a debate between the search for a medium-specific "language" of cinema and inquiries into the ways cinema reflects, reproduces, or otherwise expresses

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, directed by Peter Jackson, New Line/Wingnut, New Zealand/USA, 2001, 178 mins.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, directed by Peter Jackson, New Line/Wingnut, New Zealand/USA, 2002, 179 mins.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, directed by Peter Jackson, New Line/Wingnut, New Zealand/USA, 2003, 201 mins.

Based on the best-selling novel of the twentieth century, the first major blockbuster of the twenty-first could base its innovations on a significant preexisting fan base. The trilogy format, already opened up as a possibility by the highly successful 1999 release of The Matrix, differed from the better established "franchise" model of comic-book superhero and horror cycles in the 1980s and 1990s by promising to tell a complete narrative, rather than an open-ended series of discrete tales. Though large, the production budget was comparable to similarly ambitious block-buster films of the period. The risk of spending such budgets on fantasy, a genre notoriously difficult to sell to mass audiences, was spread across the fame of the original "property," J. R. R. Tolkien's novel, the use of overseas labor, and an innovative marketing campaign.

The Lord of the Rings, though frequently marketed as a triumph of the New Zealand film industry, is an example of a "runaway" productionthat is, a Hollywood project filmed in a foreign territory to benefit not only from location scenery but from tax breaks offered by national governments to entice high-spending studio productions, cheaper labor costs than the highly unionized U.S. industry, and flexible working arrangements often unavailable in the United States. Unusually for a big-budget production, the film employed relatively unknown actors at cheaper rates, concentrating spending instead on props, stunts, locations, and digital effects. Without a star, the film then needed to be sold on its look and its story. (The 1977 block-buster Star Wars is a comparable example.)

During the 1990s, a low-budget student film achieved significant box-office success through judicious use of word-of-mouth advertising on the then-new Worldwide Web. The marketing of The Lord of the Rings, while also using the familiar channels for preselling blockbusters, used carefully leaked and later carefully timed releases of teasers, interviews, backstage footage, trailers, stills, and production details to fan sites, even inviting fan Webmasters to attend significant film festivals and to report on them. In contrast to the Disney Company, which had set lawyers onto fans running Harry Potter sites, New Line, the AOLTime-Warner branch company responsible for the film, used the fans as a medium for publicity before, during, and after the release of the films.

The trilogy extended and systematized a number of developments in the blockbuster film that may now be referred to as event movies. The theatrical release of the film is the trigger for a raft of related products including books, toys, computer games, soundtrack albums, and, very significantly, DVD release. Unusually, The Lord of the Rings could not benefit from the lucrative market in "product placement" (the sale of screen time within the film to automobile, computer, hotel and food companies, among others). Instead it capitalized on the very authenticity of a fantastic world without commercial products. The international touring exhibition of props from the films helped build this aura of authenticity. The planning and filming of substantial extra scenes so that the theatrical release of the film could be supplemented with up to an hour of extra storytime on the extended DVD release allowed an innovative release pattern for the films stretching over a five-to six-year period. This in turn required a loyal fan base, whose interest could be maintained over the extended period of the release strategy.

The films' budget also required that the movies, like The Matrix and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000), should be especially palatable to East Asian audiences. Action sequences quoting both Hong Kong fight films and Japanese anime graphic style have become key components in large-budget films destined for a cosmopolitan marketplace. Cinema theory now needs to undertake explorations of such global cultural phenomena, their relationship with both the United States and the country of production, and the future status of cultural specificity in the global circulation of audiovisual materials.

the cultures it derives from or seeks to change. Initial work of the later 1960s emphasized the linguistic structures that appeared to govern cinema. In the later 1970s, two backlashes came in the form first of a film-specific criticism antipathetic to the idea that "bourgeois" forms like the novel and the feature film shared similar structures, and second, of a move away from "theory" toward more traditional forms of humanistic and sociological scholarship. The 1980s witnessed a powerful burst of interest in the cultural dimensions of cinema as an expression of macro-and microculturesAfrican-American, queer, and third cinema theories privileging the role of cinema as communicator of distinct and differentiated cultural values. In the 1990s, additional emphases were placed on ostensibly marginalized techniques like sound and animation, while the struggle over theory was renewed in the arrival of new theoretical paradigms, notably from phenomenology and the philosophy of desire.

Earlier criticism (commonly referred to as "classical film theory") often celebrated cinema's capacity for realism (see Andrew, 1976). After 1968 the French journal Cahiers du cinéma, in common with much of French culture, was rapidly and radically politicized and began to critique the illusion of reality in cinema. In the person of Christian Metz, the new criticism articulated an influential mix of Marxism, psychoanalysis, and semiotics, the "science of signs." In the 1970s, critics associated with the U.K. journal Screen began to translate much of this work, and to develop an indigenous theoretical practice, today often referred to as Screen theory. The addition of a powerful strand of feminist criticism was the most significant new development, especially as presented in Laura Mulvey's 1975 essay "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema" and in the work of Stephen Heath, while Paul Willemen added political commitment and polemic. Rejecting the realist proposals of André Bazin and Siegfried Kracauer, the Screen critics proposed that cinema acted as an ideological apparatus, a term borrowed in part from the French Communist Party's leading philosopher of the day, Louis Althusser. Rather than transmitting ideological messages, as earlier political critics had assumed, cinema's technical apparatus of camera and projector lenses and screens recreated a model in which the audience member was constructed as the subject of ideology. Interpellated (or "hailed") by the apparatus and positioned by it, the cinematic subject became a willing participant in the construction of illusion. (It is interesting to note that the two leading political theorists of working-class collusion in their own oppression, Louis Althusser and Antonio Gramsci, were both translated by editors of Screen. )

In Mulvey's version, this process recapitulated the mirror phase of early childhood development proposed by the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. For Lacan, the child's first recognition of itself in the mirror was both a traumatic discovery of separation from the maternal body and the first identification with an ideal version of itselfmore distinct, more capable than it feels itself to be. This dialectic between the loss and idealization of the self Mulvey holds to be the origin of identification with human figures on screen, a fundamental identification that is then articulated with the differing representations of men and women (the one typically looking, the other typically being looked at) to produce the effect of gendered subjectivity in the cinema apparatus. Screen critics prized especially the works

Princess Mononoke

Princess Mononoke, directed by Hayao Miyazake, Tokuma Shoten/Nippon Television Network/Dentsu/Studio Ghibli/Miramax, Japan, 1999 (U.S. version), 128 mins.

Hayao Miyazake's Mononoke-hime (1997; released in the United States in 1999 as Princess Mononoke ), the sixth feature film for his Studio Ghibli, built on the success of his child-oriented anime, extending back more than a decade. The Japanese animation industry, powered in part by its close relations with the export of television shows for children and the toys and games crazes of the 1980s, had turned in the late 1980s to themes more suited to young adults. The international success of Katsuhiro Otomo's Akira in 1988 and Mamoru Oshii and Masamune Shirow's Ghost in the Shell of 1995 had paved the way for higher production values, the assimilation of digital technologies into traditional hand-painted cel animation, and increasingly convoluted narrative lines.

Immensely successful in Japan, where it was only outgrossed by Titanic, the film raises special challenges for the theory of cinema. The animation form has traditionally been seen as childish and has received proportionately little critical attention, while Japanese product aimed at television sales had acquired a reputation for shoddy technique, often due to the practice of farming large proportions of the handcraft out to overseas animation factories, notably in Thailand. Miyazake's film is extremely well crafted throughout, essential if the film was to succeed on the big screen. Several innovations helped, including the use of specially-written software to make three-dimensional digital animation look more like traditional cartoons.

Princess Mononoke 's themes of struggle between environmental and mechanistic forces at a formative moment in Japanese history seem not only to have chimed with audiences, but to have echoed in the cartoon form the dialectics of technology and nature. Evoking the environmental ethics of first peoples, the film seeks to reconcile technological progress with a mystical understanding of the forest as stronghold of nature. The very unnaturalness of the medium, including the necessity to invent sounds for the various cartoon creatures that inhabit the film, give the movie a greater depth and deeper conflicts than the wishful ending would suggest. And the success of the film challenges cinema theory to address two of its major weaknesses: the first being the audio component of audiovisual media and its articulation with the visual; the second, the distance between photographic and graphic depiction.

Digital theorist Lev Manovich observes that the rise of digital cinema makes contemporary audiences aware that cinematography is a brief excursion in the history of animated pictures. From such specialized formal analyses, cinema studies can hope to derive new paradigms for understanding relations between recording, inventing, representing, and communicating in an increasingly global media society.

of the avant-garde, deploying the semiotic theory of signs to advance the theory that avant-garde cinema freed signifiers (the materials of light and shade for example) from their bondage to the signified (to the illusory representation of an always already ideological reality). At the same time, they sought out more popular films that exemplified the contradictory and dialectical tendencies within the dominant ideology, such as the 1950s melodramas of Douglas Sirk with their clash of wealthy lifestyles and emotional catastrophe. Technical work in film semiotics continues with the work of Warren Buckland, and Screen theory has retained its position since the 1970s, especially among feminist critics like Kaja Silverman, but it has never been uncontroversial.

The Specificity of Cinema

The most influential critic of the Screen agenda has been David Bordwell. Accusing the Screen critics of blindness to the specificity of film, Bordwell and his co-author Kristin Thompson developed a "neoformalist" analysis. Combining inspiration from Russian formalism with cognitive psychology, they proposed a rigorous film scholarship grounded in archive work and extensive as well as intensive film viewing. They also argued for what appeared to be a more commonsense approach to audience activity. Using cognitive theories, Bordwell argued that audiences were actively engaged in constructing meaning, guessing what will happen next, forming hypotheses and mental maps, and piecing together the action of the plot from the fragments of edited film narration. Criticized for their normative and apolitical account of the cinema experience, and despite the sometimes strident protestations of their later work, Thompson and Bordwell have been influential in establishing close analysis of filmic technique and high levels of historical scholarship as necessary prerequisites of film study.

New historicism (rather confusingly referred to as "revisionist" in some accounts) has been especially effective in the renewal of film studies, focusing attention on the specificity of film's evolution as technology, industry, and culture. In the 1980s and 1990s scholars such as Barry Salt, Tom Gunning, Roberta Pearson, Janet Staiger, Miriam Hansen, Kevin Brownlow, and Robert Allen and Douglas Gomery on U.S. cinema; Michael Chanan, Pam Cook, Andrew Higson, John Hill, and Robert Murphy on the United Kingdom; Thomas Elsaesser on Germany; Richard Abel on France; Yuri Tsivian on Russia; and others have radically rewritten the glib accounts of journalistic film history. The new cinema historicism diminishes the importance of individuals and denies the apparent linear progress from silent to sound, monochrome to color. Instead the new historicists emphasize the importance of institutional forces and economic trends in the innovation and dissemination of technologies and techniques, seeking reasons why certain promising technologies are delayed or abandoned, assessing the reactions of audiences and exhibitors to emerging technologies, focusing on the institutional histories of studios and government agencies, and tracing links between cinema and cognate industries. In the process some key beliefs of even recent film criticism have been undermined, as when Rick Altman argued, on evidence from D. W. Griffith's involvement with the stage, that melodrama was a formative component of classical Hollywood, thus critiquing both the belief that U.S. cinema was realist in essence and that melodrama was an effective antidote to its dominance.

Since the 1990s film historians have turned to oral history and documentary accounts of audience activity in the cinema. A major element of television studies throughout its life, audience studies have had a weaker position in film studies, perhaps because of the relative difficulty and social impropriety of staring at audience members in the dark. Early accounts from the 1930s by participants in the British Mass Observation project, even Hugo Münsterberg's pioneering psychological study of 1916, failed to establish a strong tradition of reception studies. Distinguishing themselves from market

The Rules of the Game

La Règle du jeu, directed by Jean Renoir, Nouvelle Editions Françaises, France, 1939, 110 mins.

Hated or ignored on its release in 1939, Jean Renoir's La Règle du jeu is one of the most consistently admired of all films. An ensemble cast in an upstairs-downstairs country weekend enact the rituals of a dying civilization on the brink of war. With its deep staging and deep-focus cinematography, its long takes, and a fluid camera that seems to track the actors (rather than construct the action for the camera), the film became a touchstone of realist criticism.

In a widely read essay, "S/Z and Rules of the Game " (in the film journal Jump Cut, nos. 1213, winter 19761977, pp. 4551), Julia Lesage argued that in fact the film was constructed through the types of code identified by Roland Barthes and that its realism was merely the effect of cinematic and narrative technique. This formalist analysis would also inspire readings by, among others, Kristin Thompson, for whom the film is an elaborately constructed artifice. That Renoir appears in the film as the character Octave, caught between the aristocrats and the servants, inspired a number of auteur critics to single out the film as an account of the artist's role in society and in cinema. In his 1990s His toire du cinéma, the cinéaste Jean-Luc Godard returns many times to The Rules of the Game as if to an exemplary combination of formal innovation and political commitment.

Phenomenological and psychoanalytic critics have focused on the role of illusion in the film, the series of mistaken identities that propel the plot, and the ethos of "keeping up appearances" that leads to the final tragedy. Still baffling for textual analysts is the charm and the comedy that have kept the film popular not only with critics but with film buffs for more than sixty years. Compellingly humanist in outlookRenoir's direction rarely if ever seems to dislike his charactersthe film's narrative nonetheless enacts a damning satire on a rigidly stratified society that prides itself on the appearances through which it lies to itself. This paradox of a realist cinema portraying an unreal society maintains the film's interest long after that society has faded away.

research by their interest in emotional, inventive, ironic, and resistant attitudes, and in the extremities of fan culture, such studies of necessity emphasize the depth rather than the breadth of their findings, giving more attention to highly specific audiences than to the standard aggregate measure of film audience, box-office returns. At least one international project attempted to do both deep and broad research, investigating cross-cultural meanings of fantasy though an Internet-based survey of responses to the twenty-first century blockbuster The Lord of the Rings. Both historical and contemporary reception studies focus on the cultural construction of audiences, the determinations of race, class, gender, and other formations on the ways audiences read and react to movies, disputing both the Screen concept of an apparatus that determines response, and Bordwell's idea of the audience's work of textual reconstruction.

Cultures and Economies of Cinema

Cross-cultural dimensions of cinema, initially discussed mostly in terms of the textual properties and ideological concerns of national cinemas, are now the object of much work in reception, political economy, and postcolonial research. Summed up in Ella Shohat and Robert Stam's 1994 title "Unthinking Eurocentrism," cross-cultural studies result in several kinds of work that dispute the normative tendency of neoformalism and the blindness to cultural difference of the apparatus theory espoused by the Screen critics. Some scholars have been at pains to emphasize the creativity or political significance of previously marginalized cinemas and directors. Others apply rigorous theoretical critique to such art house favorites as the Chinese fifth-generation filmmakers. Still more radical was the movement in filmmaking and film theory known as third cinema, after an influential 1976 essay by Cuban cinéastes Fernando Solanas and Octavio Gettino, which argued that the first and second cinemasmass entertainment and bourgeois psychodramas, respectivelyhad failed the revolution and that a third cinema based in popular forms and addressing popular struggles was the best way forward. This spirit was echoed across the world, in the films of Haile Gerima in Ethiopa, Sembene Ousmane in Senegal, and Anand Patwardhan in India, and in the critical writings of Teshome Gabriel, Trinh Minh-Ha, and others (for example, Jim Pines, Paul Willemen, Coco Fusco, and John Downing). Since a central tenet of third cinema was that cultural specificity was integral to a cinema that was genuinely popular in the sense of belonging to and acting with the people, the term acted as an umbrella for a wide range of practice. Another early Cuban proponent, Julio Garcia Espinoza, called for an imperfect cinema; in Brazil, Glauber Rocha called for a cinema of hunger. For some proponents, the third cinema demanded a break with the technical wealth as well as the techniques of the first and second cinemas, while for others the resultant formally challenging films were merely reversions to the self-important antics of art house cinema and of no interest or use to the oppressed. This debate became especially vibrant in North America and in Europe where a new and intensely articulate generation of filmmakers and critics from African-and Hispanic-American, black British, and British-Asian backgrounds began to give voice to their artistic and political demands.

A second effect of this global consciousness has been a reappraisal of the old Marxist political economy espoused by Screen theory, updating the analysis to take account of globalization on the film business, its working practices, and its use of international free trade agreements to maintain and develop monopolistic corporate cartels. Janet Wasko, Andrew Higson, and Richard Maltby, among others, have addressed the impact of information technologies and the increasing integration of entertainment industries in guiding the development of new industrial practices as well as strategic policy on global media flows, intellectual property rights legislation, and the potential impacts of North American dominance of film distribution on the cultural lives of smaller nations. Increasingly, studies of auteurs are articulating the creative process with the industrial, and the best of them are also informed by theoretical paradigms that explain the dependence of creation in film on industrial and technical processes over which an individual director has little control.

Such studies of the development of film industries merge with analytical concerns in the study of cinema's relationships with modernity. A number of scholars, among them Anne Friedberg and Friedrich Kittler, trace cinema's roots back to related developments of the late nineteenth century such as department stores, electric streetlights, railways, and advertising, and argue forward to the digital era that cinema has always integrated with a range of other media into a broad process of modernization. In this context the study of entertainment has developed rapidly, with increasing awareness of the cross-media appeal of stardom, movie soundtracks, and animation. Film sound has benefited especially from the work of Michel Chion, Rick Altman, and Philip Brophy, who listen not only to music but to sound effects, to the construction of off-screen space, thematic constructions of gender and race, and the shifting hierarchy of recorded sound and recorded image. Like stardom, which is governed by a dialectical relation between on-screen presence and real absence, the study of film sound reveals complex interactions of space and time, sometimes reinforcing and sometimes undermining the coherence of a film's imaginary world. The sense of modernity as a complex process of homogenization and fragmentation is also common to studies of popular genres like horror, action movies, and science fiction, genres that frequently evoke both utopian and dystopian alternatives to dominant conceptions of embodiment, agency, and the necessity of current social arrangements.

Technologies of Cinema

The arrival of digital technologies in cinema has provoked debate over the degree of continuity between this process of modernization in the predigital cinema and the potential postmodernity of digital film. Critics like Lev Manovich believe in the continuity of the two, and in cinema's powerful determination of such key factors of digital media as the use of screens. Others derive from digital media new paradigms for reviewing the historical data, rediscovering such typically digital techniques as motion capture in the pre-cinematic chronophotography of Étienne-Jules Marey, or digital compositing of layers in the trompe-l'oeil sets of Georges Méliès' early fantasy films. Scholars of special effects, such as Vivian Sobchack, Scott Bukatman, and Timothy Murray, have begun to analyze the diminishing dependence of cinema on what can be enacted in front of a camera, tracing, in Michelle Pearson's work, a transition from spectacle for its own sake to a more embedded expectation of near-photographic illusion seamlessly wedded to cinematographic imagery, as in James Cameron's Titanic (1997), a case argued by Angela Ndalianis, for whom spectacle is, if anything, a more significant element of contemporary entertainment than at any time since the Baroque.

At certain points, this discussion of the transition from photo-mechanical to electronic cinema replicates the long-running debate between culturalist and medium-specific accounts of film. If such vast currents as modernity or globalization run through the transition to digital, then there will be continuity. But if the deep-seated alterations to cinematic technique take precedence, then the experience of cinema, and to some extent of cultural activity at large, can be expected to change equally. This hypothesis has been tested especially by a generation of phenomenological critics like Vivian Sobchack and Laura U. Marks, for whom the object of inquiry is the physical embodiment of the spectator and the ways this relates to the richness of the felt experience of cinema. This type of work, instigated by Dudley Andrew, is extended in Marks's work into a consideration of the emulation of touching in certain modes of cinema practice. The theme of embodiment also runs through the rapid rise of interest in Gilles Deleuze's two-volume analysis of cinema, remarkable for its espousal of a philosophy of desire grounded in Henri Bergson (rather than the ubiquitous Heideggerianism, in themes of loss, lack, and the fading of reality, of poststructural criticism) and for its meticulous readings of individual films. Deleuze envisages a shift from the "movement-image" pre-1945 toward a "direct time image" in postwar cinema. Informed by the semiotic pragmatism of Charles Sanders Peirce, Deleuze deploys an idiosyncratic vocabulary to argue for cinema's gradual liberation from a mechanistic dependence on the image of the human body toward a more metaphysical engagement with the pure dimensionality of time and its flows.

Challenges of Cinema

The tumultuous history of cinema studies since the mid twentieth century has concentrated several core debates in the history of ideas. Should the study of film deploy traditional hermeneutic and humanistic techniques, or should it abandon them for a more rigorous analysis grounded in linguistics? Or was such grappling with continental theory an alibi for a failure to address the realities of political economy, actual rather than textually determined readers, and the operations of oppression and exploitation disguised or denied by filmic representations? Or was cinema in any case an entirely symbolic activity, a simulacrum with no relation to any reality, physical or social? In institutions where cinema has been taught, there have been the additional claims that the analysis of film is mere carping, all too often negative and destructive, and of no use to those who wish to move into filmmaking as a career. Such claims have led to the rise of major literatures in script analysis and structure, in the technical aspects of filmmaking, and in elements of creative industries literature devoted to film financing, marketing, and policy, many of which have been subsumed into the canon of cinema studies teaching.

Looking to cinema's specific contributions to the history of ideas, among the most significant has been its meticulous attention to the specificities of cultural difference and the contemporaneous splitting and differentiation of subjectivity, in the admission of transcultural cinemas and in queer cinema, for example. At its best, the affirmation of camp, for example in Richard Dyer's work on queer cinema, is valuable not only for film studies but for better understanding of the rich emotional life of the culture.

Indeed, if anything distinguishes the cinema theory among media studies, it is its readiness to engage with the emotional life. Alongside the cool analysis of finance, technique, and box office, it is difficult to sidestep the intense emotive power of film, from haunting abstraction to political passion, and in physiological reactions of tears, shrieks, and laughter. While some advances have been made in the study of the erotic (by Linda Williams) and the horrific (by Barbara Creed), both comedy and tearjerkers have resisted analysis and remain in many ways the most difficult emotional technologies to account for, partially because they are among the least esteemed in intellectual circles.

There is too the contradictory fascination of cinema captured in the phrase the dream factory. Flagship of the consciousness industries, cinema figures as both escape and utopia, flight from oppression or flight toward its alternative. It is both a device for replenishing the exhausted with meaningless entertainment and a technology for demanding the impossible. Its illusions may be seen as lies and ideology, or as evocations of emotional and spiritual satisfactions denied and destroyed by consumerism. Its darkness, serried ranks of seating, and clockwork rhythms of projection can appear as both a continuation of factory discipline into leisure time and as an expression of solidarity, community, and sociability.

Meanwhile, despite (and, in some resistant political sense, perhaps because of) the dominance of Hollywood on world screens, cinema has proved remarkably successful at translating cultural difference across the world: one thinks of the mix of kung fu, spaghetti western, and U.S. gangster in Perry Henzell's Jamaican The Harder They Come (1973). The films of Rainer Werner Fassbinder, John Woo, Akira Kurosawa, and Satyajit Ray have reached far more people than equivalent literary or even musical creations. Nonetheless, there remain huge difficulties in securing distribution for non-Hollywood films, a challenge that film studies shows signs of addressing in the early twenty-first century, along with the issues of cross-cultural transmission, emotion, and identification, and the utopian as well as the industrial capabilities of the medium.

See also Media, History of ; Third Cinema ; Visual Culture .


Andrew, J. Dudley. Concepts in Film Theory. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.

. The Major Film Theories: An Introduction. London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1976.

Gledhill, Christine, and Linda Williams, eds. Reinventing Film Studies. London: Arnold, 2000.

Metz, Christian. Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema. Translated by Michael Taylor. New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.

. The Imaginary Signifier: Psychoanalysis and Cinema. Translated by Celia Britton et al. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1982.

. Language and Cinema. Translated by Donna Jean Umiker-Seboek. The Hague: Mouton, 1974.

Miller, Toby, and Robert Stam, eds. A Companion to Film Theory. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 1999.

Mulvey, Laura. "Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema." Screen 16, no. 3 (autumn 1975): 618. Reprinted in her Visual and Other Pleasures. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

Nichols, Bill, ed. Movies and Methods. 2 vols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 19761985.

Shohat, Ella. and Robert Stam. Unthinking Eurocentrism: Multi-culturalism and the Media. London and New York: Routledge, 1994.

Solanas, Fernando, and Octavio Getino. "Towards a Third Cinema." In Movies and Methods, Vol. 1, edited by Bill Nichols. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976. Revised translation in 25 Years of Latin American Cinema, edited by Michael Chanan. London: BFI/Channel 4, 1984.

Stam, Robert, and Toby Miller, eds. Film and Theory: An Anthology. Malden, Mass.: Blackwell, 2000.

Sean Cubitt

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Cinema and Psychoanalysis


As contemporaries, cinema and psychoanalysis both reveal, in their own way, mankind's complex personality. The interior dramas that psychoanalysis brings to light can be experienced within the "other scene" of cinematic fiction. The similarity of certain terms and the occasional apparent resemblances between the two techniques encourage spontaneous comparisons: During psychoanalysis the subject is confronted with fantasized "representations" and can identity with "projected" characters. And we often speak of "dream screens."

Psychoanalysis as perceived by the cinema, especially by Hollywood, has not escaped a degree of confusion. For, while engaging in one sense with the "question of lay analysis," American psychoanalytic practice is related to psychiatry. Therefore, in American film productions as well as in critical analyses of those films, there has not always been a clear distinction between psychiatry and psychoanalytic practice. To bring the relation into sharper focus, I will not consider films that depict the world of psychiatry, such as Shock Corridor (Sam Fuller, 1963), Lilith (R. Rossen, 1964), or One Flew Over the Cuckoo 's Nest (Milos Forman, 1975). This article will avoid discussion of the serial killer films of the nineteen eighties (Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer by J. McNaughton, 1985, released in 1990, The Silence of the Lambs by Jonathan Demme, 1991, Seven by D. Fincher, 1995, and others).

The term "psychoanalysis" appeared for the first time in Sigmund Freud's Heredity and the Aetiology of the Neuroses (1896). Almost simultaneously, on December 28, 1895, the Lumière brothers, inventors of the cinematograph, organized the first paid movie in Paris. The show, twenty minutes long, contained the famous Arrivée du train en gare de La Ciotat and La Sortie de l 'usine Lumièreà Lyon.

It took the cinema more than twenty years to present psychoanalytic imagery, even in a rudimentary form. In 1919, R. Wiene filmed The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, in which a mad doctorat least that's what he claims to beuses hypnosis for evil purposes, just as the diabolical Dr. Mabuse in the film of the same name (Fritz Lang, 1922), released three years later, made use of his hypnotic powers for criminal purposes.

On the other hand it took psychoanalysis a number of years before it approached cinema. Münsterberg did write a 1916 essay, Le Cinéma: étude psychologique, but it was only in 1970 that, for the first time, film analysis made use of the tools of psychoanalysis (Les Cahiers du cinéma, no. 223). The authors dissected Young Abe Lincoln (John Ford, 1939) and analyzed the importance of the Law (personified by Henry Fonda as Lincoln) and the Oedipus complex it implied.

The history of the relation between psychoanalysis and cinema can be subdivided into three major periods. In its earliest manifestations (Caligari and Mabuse ), psychoanalysis became, during the thirties, a familiar figure to cinema, although it often assumed the form of caricatured archetypes, which revealed a complete misunderstanding of psychoanalytic reality. It was superficial and incompetent (Carefree, M. Sandrich, 1938, Bringing up Baby, Howard Hawks, 1938), disturbing and ambitious (Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, Frank Capra, 1936), or provided effective, although simpleminded, advice (Blind Alley, King Vidor, 1939). It still had little to do with the behavior of ordinary people.

After the Second World War, the references to psychoanalysis (psychiatrists treating shell-shocked soldiers, for example)at least in terms of explanatory materialmade psychoanalysis seem more serious and sympathetic. Its cinematic representation followed this positive evolution. It was the seductive Peterson (Ingrid Bergman) who enabled Ballantyne (Gregory Peck) to remember the traumatic childhood scene that, having been repressed, had led him to believe he was guilty of murder (Spellbound, Alfred Hitchcock, 1945). It is Moss, the G.I. in Home of the Brave (S. Kramer, 1949), who, returning home after the war, is healed of the paralysis that resulted from his inferiority complex. Psychoanalysis, although not yet fully understood, is here better integrated in social life and becomes a "serious" reference.

More recently we have seen a return to a more critical position. Dressed to Kill (Brian de Palma, 1980) involves an analyst who is a serial killer of women. The grasping psychoanalyst in Passageà l 'acte (F. Girod, 1997), manipulated by his patient, becomes his assassin with few second thoughts. The psychoanalysts portrayed by Woody Allen are frequently among the funniest characters in his films. Psychoanalysis, neither caricature nor definitive "knowledge," becomes a subject for the cinema that can be treated objectively and even ridiculed.

Even though he allowed himself to be filmed by his close friends (Marie Bonaparte, Mark Brunswick, René Laforgue, Philip Lehrman, see Mijolla, A. de, 1994), Freud was never very interested in the cinema. Arguing that "he didn't feel that a plastic representation of our abstractions worthy of the name could be made," he disavowed his disciples, Karl Abraham and Hanns Sachs, for their collaboration on the script of The Mysteries of a Soul (G. W. Pabst, 1925). He also refused a considerable sum of money offered by Samuel Goldwyn to develop a script on "famous love affairs." This suspicion of the filmic representation of psychoanalysis continued after the death of its founder. It was primarily Freud's daughter who opposed any attempt to make a film about Freud. Fearing Anna Freud's hostility, John Huston abandoned the idea of using Marilyn Monroe to play the part of Cecily in Freud, the Secret Passion (1962).

Should we attribute to this suspicion the paucity of films about Freud? The few films that do represent Freud show him during the early years of psychoanalysis. The Seven-Percent Solution (H. Ross, 1976) is a comedy in which the founder of psychoanalysis attempts to cure Sherlock Holmes of his cocaine addiction, a wink at Freud's own experience. Sogni d 'oro (Nino Moretti, 1981) involves the making of a film entitled "Freud's Mother," in which the fictional relations of Sigmund and Amalia are treated comically. In a more serious vein, Nineteen-Nineteen (H. Brody, 1984) evokes Freud in flashback psychoanalyzing two celebrated patients, the Wolfman and the young woman described in "a case of female homosexuality" (1920a). John Huston's Freud (1962) is the only film that seriously and directly confronts the theoretical and practical questions of psychoanalysis through a "biographical" fiction.

Like Freud leaving the famous 1921 photographcigar in hand, without his glassesto come to life in Lovesick (M. Brickman, 1983), the image of the fictional psychoanalyst is often a stereotype or caricature: white beard, tiny pince-nez glasses, maybe a strong foreign accent. He becomes the old doctor Brulov in Spellbound (1945) or the disturbing Caligari (1919) or Mabuse (1922), who make use of their knowledge of hypnosis for evil purposes. Nor are they the only ones. The analyst in Nightmare Alley (E. Goulding, 1947) makes use of his patients' confidence to blackmail them.

Even though the psychoanalyst's image in cinema evolves after the Second World War, becoming more reassuring, it still retains an aura of strangeness. The two doctorseven if they are not, strictly speaking, psychoanalystswho appear in Seventh Heaven (B. Jacquot, 1997), are oddly different from the other characters in the film. The first, and most important, disappears as mysteriously as he appears.

In Hollywood films classical Freudian concepts are used: the neurosis of anxiety, the Oedipus complex, the repression of an infantile trauma. In most cases, the model used, at least implicitly, is based on the Studies on Hysteria ; the spectacular effects of the catharsis can be used for the purposes of dramatization. Bringing back a repressed memory is sufficient for healing. This occurs in Secret Beyond the Door (Fritz Lang, 1948), in Suddenly, Last Summer (Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1959), The Snake Pit (Anatol Litvak, 1949), and even, although it is caricatured, in Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964). Dreams have obviously assumed their place as one of the deus ex machina of cinema, beginning with the dream sequence in Spellbound, designed by Salvador Dali. The analysis of a recurrent dream experienced by one of the characters is used to solve the "enigma" at the heart of the script. Nightmares occur in Pursued (Raoul Walsh, 1949), Lady in the Dark (M. Leisen, 1944), Secret Beyond the Door (1948), and The Three Faces of Eve (N. Johnson, 1957). Then there are the dreams of Freud himself, taken from the Interpretation of Dreams (1900a), which are used in Freud: The Secret Passion (1962). Unraveling these oneiric obsessions resolves the character's neurosis and the story (the film) comes to an end.

For the purposes of dramaturgy, psychoanalysis is used by cinema to cure patients and especially to reveal the neuroses of psychoanalysts, their entourage, and society. The Cobweb (Vincente Minelli, 1955) is the model for this type of exposition. In the film Richard Widmark, a psychoanalyst working in an institution, is impotent with his wife, with whom he disagrees.

Should we be surprised then that Hollywood's celluloid psychoanalysts, psychiatrists especially, rarely engage in any real psychoanalysisoften confused with hypnosisand that the framework of the psychoanalytic cure is rarely respected? In Spellbound, Dr. Petersen (Ingmar Bergman) is seated next to her patient, the so-called Dr. Edwards (Gregory Peck); the psychoanalyst in Sex and the Single Girl (R. Quine, 1964), played by Natalie Wood, does the same and, as in so many representations, writes down his remarks. In Lady in the Dark (1944), the analyst's seat is placed behind the couch but the patient is seated. This difficulty in displaying the psychoanalytic framethe analysand lying on a couch and the psychoanalyst seated behind him in another planehas been neatly resolved by H. Brody in Nineteen-Nineteen (1984). Here, two of Freud's former patients recall their respective psychoanalysis. When the therapy is shown on screen, the psychoanalyst (Freud), is not in the picture, only his voice is present (Mijolla, A. de, 1994).

Even today it seems that cinema continues to insist that psychoanalysis is hypnosis (the dramatic effects of which are evident on screen) or catharsis (which facilitates explanatory shortcuts). Nonetheless, its representation has become more subtle and it is now fully integrated in the film. In Seventh Heaven, psychoanalysis is not only part of the script but present on screen as well. White surfaces are used by the heroine to project her traumatic memories. Similarly, F. Girod makes psychoanalysis the background for Passageà l 'acte (1997). Psychoanalysis is given the comic treatment in nearly all of Woody Allen's films as well as a few others (A Couch in New York by Chantal Ackerman, 1997). Sometimes the approach is tragicomic, as in Another Woman (Allen, 1988), where a woman begins to question her entire life after eavesdropping on a psychoanalyst at work through a vent in her apartment.

However, there is no need to see an analyst at work or present a formal psychoanalytic situation for psychoanalysis to be presented on screen. A number of films promote a latent psychoanalytic statement without being explicit. This is the case, for example, with the melodramas of Douglas Sirk, who presents neurotic characters (Written on the Wind, 1956), with many of Ingmar Bergman's films (The Silence, 1963, Persona, 1966, Cries and Whispers, 1973, Autumn Sonata, 1978), with Michael Powell's Peeping Tom (1960), and any of Tex Avery's productions, which use comedy to present neurosis.

It is often in films where the elements of psychoanalysis are presented but not spelled out that psychoanalytic concepts appear with the greatest subtlety and relevance. What would Un chien andalou (Luis Buñuel, 1928), that sprawling ninety-minute dream, have been like if the script had provided a psychoanalytic explanation? Probably a poor film, slow and overbearing.

It was only natural that psychoanalysis should take an interest in film, one of many cultural constructs, as Freud did, for example, with drama, beginning with Hamlet. Nonetheless, the theory of cinema did not make use of the tools of psychoanalysis until the early seventies. With reference to the work of Lacan, Christian Metz provided a careful spectatorial analysis, trying to determine "what contribution Freudian psychoanalysis could . . . provide in the study of the imaginary signifier." Other authors also became interested in the analogy between psychoanalysis and cinema: the importance of sight (Jean-Louis Baudry), the different meanings of the word "screen" (G. Rosolata), the place of the spectator in Persona (N. Brown), fetishism and film noir (M. Ernet).

However, theory shouldn't cause us to overlook the many studies of individual films and directors. Raymond Bellour (1975) provided a psychoanalytic analysis (the murder of the father, the castrating mother) of Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959), a film said to be frivolous and entertaining. Minutely dissecting the sequence of the airplane attack, he reveals the importance of sight and its role in the film. Similarly, T. Kuntzel (1975) made use of the Freudian discovery of the presence of the unconscious in dreams to analyze The Most Dangerous Game (E. B. Shoedsack and I. Pichel, 1932). Patrick Lacoste (1990) examines The Mysteries of a Soul (1925) from a strictly psychoanalytical point of view and Sophie de Mijolla-Mellor (1994) analyzes the way the "anxiety of fiction" operates on the spectator of Hitchcock's films.

Throughout the nineteen-eighties American film theory looked at a number of films made between 1945 and 1960 from the point of view of psychoanalysis and feminism. In several analyses that could be described as "feminist psychoanalysis," Laura Mulvey, Janet Walker, and M. A. Doane attempted to show how the role of women in cinema reflected their role in society. The approach taken by E. Ann Kaplan, which was part of this movementone that was more sociological than psychoanalyticalemphasized issues of race in society, which the cinema reflected.

But making use of psychoanalytic concepts to examine films from a sociological perspective (feminist or antiracist) was bound to be unsatisfactory as long as these readings involved distortion and reduction; the film and its analysis became a pretext to defend, and in a way that was not always rigorous, questionable intellectual ideas. Psychoanalysis is often a pretext in the service of a discourse; once abandoned, it is seen to be an element inessential to the logical structure of the argument. Isn't this the reproach made to cinema whenever it represents psychoanalysis, a filmic representation that is generally incomplete and often a form of caricature?

If film often "fails at" representation of the psychoanalytic situation, it is no doubt because "the unconscious, like the being of philosophers, rarely makes itself visible" (J.-B. Pontalis). Moreover, "the rhythm of analysis is very different from that of film, and it is quite difficult to provide an accurate representation of the sensation" (Mijolla, 1994).

A film cannot be judged on the accuracy of its portrayal of psychoanalytic notionswithin certain limits, of coursebut on the relevance of the use of those notions for the dramatic presentation of its themes. "From this point of view[the use of language and the language of images as fundamental Freudian reference points] between psychoanalysis and cinemais formed a variant of the situation of the analyst as always being between two languages" (Lacoste, 1990).

More work needs to be done on the complex relationships that are created between psychoanalysis and cinema, beyond the application of psychoanalytic concepts to the art of film.

Pierre-Jean Bouyer and Sylvain Bouyer

See also: American Imago ; Cinema (criticism); France; Freud, the Secret Passion ; Secrets of a Soul ; Psyche, revue internationale de psychanalyse et des sciences de l 'homme (Psyche, an international review of psychoanalysis and human sciences); Robertson, James; Surrealism and psychoanalysis.


Bellour, Raymond. (1979). The analysis of film (Constance Penley, Ed.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2000.

Communications. (1975). "Psychanalyse et cinéma." 23.

Lacoste, Patrick. (1990). L 'etrange cas du Pr. M. Psychanalyse à l 'écran. Paris: Gallimard.

Metz, Christian. (1979). The imaginary signifier: Psychoanalysis and the cinema (C. Britton et al., Trans.). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Mijolla, Alain de. (1999). Freud and the psychoanalytic situation on the screen. In J. Bergstrom (Ed.), Endless night. Cinema and psychoanalysis: Parallel histories (p. 188-199). Los Angeles and London: University of California Press. (Original work published 1994)

Further Reading

Gabbard, Glen. (2001). The impact of psychoanalysis on the American cinema. Annual of Psychoanalysis, 29, 237-246.

Gabbard, Erin and Gabbard, Glen. (1989). Psychiatry and the cinema. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Greenberg, Harvey R. (1993). Screen memories: Hollywood cinema on the psychoanalytic couch. New York: Columbia University Press.

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Children have always enjoyed good stories and adventures. They are entertained, they learn how to understand and gain insight into the life to which they one day will have to adjust, and in the most serious sense, stories and fairy tales help them to survive. Children have listened to the often very cruel tales of the Brothers Grimm; they have laughed, cried, and shuddered around the campfires; they have read books; and they have held their ears to their radio receivers. Today moving images are among their favorite storytellers, and generally, children have had an inquisitive, nonproblematical relationship to film as yet another useful, splendid source of entertainment, knowledge, and insight. However for many adultsparents, pedagogues, and the authoritiesthis is not the case. We might even go so far as to say that an important approach to understanding the subject "children and the movies" is paved with fear.

There is almost always widespread trepidation about anything new, and such trepidation very much affected film as well. Ever since the birth of film at the end of the nineteenth century there has been widespread concern as to the effects of this emotionally powerful medium on sleep and peace of mind, morals, and morality. Children were not the only ones in danger, either. Anybody might be corrupted by witnessing infidelity, murder, and common-or-garden-variety sinfulness displayed on the silver screen! So the agenda of adult discussions on the subject of children and film has often consisted of damage control. Initially this resulted in prohibition and later in censorship, particularly of films containing scenes showing explicit violence and sex. It is worth noting that early discussions of film censorship were not only about shielding children from powerful, violent experiences but very much about the existence of certain matters that were not for adult eyes either. The medium was so powerful, with its rather-too-close resemblance to real life, that it just had to be controlled.

Most countries in Europe introduced film censorship before World War I when film was a phenomenon barely two decades old. In Europe controls were usually administered by the state. Seldom left up to people with any knowledge of film, censorship was delegated to lawyers or people with influential political or religious connections. In more recent times teachers and psychologists have taken over the role of film censor to enable them to decide what is harmful to children. In the United States the film industry chose to submit to self-censorship in order to avoid state or local organs. The MPPDA (the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America) was set up in 1922 and its politically experienced leader, former postmaster general Will H. Hays, persuaded the industry to accept a production code. From 1934 onward it was mandatory and its attitude to crime, alcohol, drugs, religion, violence, and sex determined what might, or rather might not, be shown on film. It was a moral straitjacket that was loosened in the 1950s, but with only a few adjustments the Production Code applied until 1968.

People have talked from the beginning of the brutalizing effect of the film medium, a debate repeated in the 1950s when the deleterious effects of cartoon strips and comic books were on the agenda in the United States and Europe, and in the 1980s when it was argued that violent content of videotapes that corrupted youth. But no clear, unequivocal evidence has ever been found of a direct link between violent movies and violent actions in real life. However, a Danish study on the subject concluded that children whose social skills are underdeveloped can become aggressive by watching violence on the screen. The dramatic expansion of the television and video market in the 1990s has rendered censorship practically impossible and so there is now a widespread tendency to replace prohibition with consumer guidelines like those in use in the United States, where a ratings system has been in operation since 1968. Ratings systems typically apply categories such as General Audience or Parental Guidance and impose different age limits, varying from country to country. In general, however, film censorship has evolved from political and moral censorship for adults to exclusively considering suitability for children. Adult censorship is now only found in a small number of countries.

Irrespective of fear and censorship, children have always loved watching films. They have laughed till the tears ran down their cheeks at Charlie Chaplin and Laurel and Hardy, they have wept over Lassie and Bambi, they have shuddered and hidden their faces when the witch appeared in Walt Disney 's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, and they have "whoopeed" and yelled when watching adventures and Westerns. A number of films not produced expressly for children have ended up being cherished by childrenas was the case with books by Jules Verne, James Fenimore Cooper, Captain Marryat, and Edgar Rice Burroughs, originally penned for adults, which ended up in the nursery. Children have always adopted their very own film treasures, for example, The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938), The Crimson Pirate (1952), Star Wars (1977), and Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981).

The term children's films, that is, films specifically produced for audiences of children, really took shape after World War II. In Britain the production company Rank embarked on the production of children's films and by 1951 this led to the establishment of the Children's Film Foundation. Film as an art form for children was not in focus; what was discussed was what children's films must not contain. Films for children were meant to be edifying, pedagogically responsible productions, contributing to their upbringing and education. So they were not to depict war and violence (an attitude which should of course be regarded in the light of the recently concluded world war) and they were not to depict the consumption of alcohol. Marriage was sacrosanct and inviolable, respect had to be paid to the church and monarchy, and the authorities were always good and just, if occasionally strict. Sex was not discussed at all, because it was quite unthinkable.

Children's films from the Children's Film Foundation soon became watered down into cheaply produced films all much of a muchness, an hour in length in order to fit special children's matinees. They introduced the two most enduring genres of children's film: the children's detective story in which hale and hearty youngsters behave like little grownups, foiling and catching slightly stupid, absolutely harmless criminals. They have a wonderful time in an anonymous community completely detached from reality, with no divisions or genuine conflicts. The other genre is animal films, in which children cast their affections on hordes of mice, rats, moles, beautiful horses, birds with broken wings, lame deer, and bunnies, dogs, and cats. (Children's detective stories and animal stories are also popular genres in literature.) It is interesting to observe how tenacious these views of children's films remained throughout the second half of the twentieth century, even though a number of children's films did try to break out of these restrictive moral limits, often with little success in terms of reaching their target group. Before the Iron Curtain rusted away, many children's films were made in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union as an instrument for inculcating the correct ideological stance; but Czechoslovakia in particular managed to rise above time and place and created a powerful tradition of puppet films for children.

The trouble with so-called children's films is that pedagogical correctness and benevolence often weigh more than narrative pleasure and film as an art form. Nobody has ever really managed to decide whether they should be films that children appreciate, films both children and adults appreciate, or films that adults do not necessarily want to see but which they would very much like children to enjoy! The older children become, the more they explore on their own, and adults may think what they like of children's tastes in film and culture (if they ever find out what they are) but these tastes represent independent choices and are one of the ways in which children grow up. Films are quite simply an easy, accessible road to a glimpse behind various closed doors into the world that lies ahead.

As a consequence, the children's films that adults deem politically correct for children do not necessarily seem to be the films in circulation in the children's own, often clandestine, culture. Nevertheless, most good films for children have a number of characteristic features. They have a child in the leading role, and this child has a mission to fulfill. The mission may be tough but the child succeeds, because the message is that a child's actions do make a difference. Children's films, such as Albert Lamorisse's French classic The Red Balloon (1956) and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron (2002) by Dream Works, share a faith in the triumph of good despite all the odds, and a belief that the world will go on. Young cinemagoers must not be left disillusioned or paralyzed into inaction. For the most part children's films (films targeted specifically to children) are now made in Scandinavian countries and in Canada where there are state subsidies, while commercial cinema operates with the concept of family films (films intended for all age groups), in many countries is usually synonymous with Disney products and their imitators.

See also: Children's Literature; Media, Childhood and.


Balzagette, Cary, and David Buckingham. 1995. In Front of the Children: Screen Entertainment and Young Audiences. London: British Film Institute.

Kinder, Marsha. 1991. Playing with Power in Movies, Television, and Video Games: From Muppet Babies to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Street, Douglas. 1983. Children's Novels and the Movies. New York: Ungar.

Ulrich Breuning

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In 1997 astronomer Jim Scotti discovered the asteroid 1997 XF11. Initial calculations predicted that the asteroid would make an extremely close approach to Earth in 2028. A collision would result in a global catastrophe, killing hundreds of millions of people. More accurate calculations of the orbit of the asteroid, however, determined that its probability of colliding with Earth is zero. Nonetheless, Hollywood films such as Deep Impact and Armageddon, both released in 1998, illustrated the global crisis that a comet or asteroid heading toward Earth would generate. Together with the alarming news about 1997 XF11, these movies heightened public awareness of the threat from an asteroid impact. As a result, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) doubled its funding to $3 million a year for searching for near-Earth objects (NEOs). In addition, NASA initiated the Spaceguard Survey, intended to find 90 percent of all NEOs larger than 1 kilometer (0.62 mile) in diameter by 2008. Ultimately, the Torino scale, developed by astronomer Richard Binzel, was released in 1999 as a means of categorizing the likelihood of an asteroid or comet colliding with Earth.

Deep Impact and Armaggedon are two of over a hundred science fiction films about space that have generated interest in space exploration. For instance,2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) illustrated what space travel may have been like in the year 2001. In addition to its artistic use of visual and sound effects, that film introduced fascinating ideas for new technologies. The Star Wars trilogy and the Star Trek movie franchise also offered ideas for advanced technological devices. Other science fiction films, such as E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) and Contact (1997) in which humans make contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life have sparked the imagination and curiosity of viewers, generating excitement about exploring the depths of space.

A year before humans walked on the Moon,2001: A Space Odyssey opened in theaters. This movie has had such a great impact on society that a NASA spacecraft en route to Mars was named after it: the 2001 Mars Odyssey. Adapted from the novel by Arthur C. Clarke and directed by Stanley Kubrick,2001: A Space Odyssey foresaw a colonized Moon and a piloted mission to Jupiter in the year 2001. While the Moon has not yet been colonized, scientists are looking closely at Mars, where settlement may be easier because of the possible presence of water. Perhaps the enthusiasm generated by the piloted trip to Jupiter shown in the movie will be caused by the first human mission to Mars.

Settling Mars, however, will probably require a process known as terraforming. The atmosphere of Mars is composed of carbon dioxide, which may be converted to breathable air by this process. As an example, the movie Red Planet (2000) suggests one possible way of terraforming Marsusing algae to create a greenhouse effect that would allow life to thrive there. Some ideas for new technologies introduced by 2001: A Space Odyssey exist today. For example, videoconferencing as shown in the movie is feasible via the Internet along with an inexpensive video camera. However, an intelligent computer such as HAL 9000 is still science fiction, although advances in artificial intelligence have produced expert systems that help professionals make decisions.


George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy generated another wave of enthusiasm for space travel. The technology of Star Wars is highly advanced, although the ideas behind it have caused people to ponder their possibilities. The lightsaber, a powerful energy-based sword, is one example. Today researchers can use lasers to cut through some materials, but there is nothing like the lightsaber. Another interesting concept in those films is the hyperdrive, which can transport a starship at a speed faster than that of light. Scientists are just beginning to ask directed questions about the possibility of lightspeed travel. Similarly advanced is the idea of antigravity. Researchers have been able to simulate antigravity under extremely cold temperatures for small objects, but true antigravity is only a theoretical concept. Other technologies, such as the holocam, the proton torpedo, the blasters, and the electrobinoculars, are high-technology devices that with human ingenuity may become realities.

The Star Trek television series and movies offer a myriad of advanced technologies, the most prominent being the transporter and the holodeck. The transporter can convert every atom of an object into a stream of matter and send it to its destination to be reconstructed there. By taking advantage of the properties of quantum mechanics, scientists have been able to "teleport" a photon, or light particle, a promising achievement. The holodeck can produce a holographic environment that feels as real as reality. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have been able to make small holographic imaging devices with force-feedback, but holodeck-type rooms are technologies of the future. Like the high-technology devices in Star Wars, the tricorder, the warp drive, and the phaser in Star Trek remain to be explored.

Extraterrestrial Life

The discovery of extraterrestrial life would be one of the greatest achievements in human history. As a result, many movies that depict an alien encounter have generated enthusiasm for space exploration. Steven Spielberg's E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial touched many viewers' hearts through its depiction of the love of an alien, giving people a motivation to explore outer worlds. Similarly,Contact, based on scientist Carl Sagan's novel, motivated space exploration through the words of an advanced alien being. However, the central theme of Contact was the process of decoding a message that described how to build a machine with an unknown function. Contact illustrated how the message united people around the world for the common goal of building a machine that might reveal the purpose of humanity. Other films, such as Cocoon, The Abyss, and Mission to Mars, have given humans a motive to explore space: the possibility of an encounter with an alien civilization and the rewarding consequences it might have.

Science fiction movies express ideas that may become realities and provide reasons to examine the depths of space more closely.

see also Domed Cities (volume 4); Faster-Than-Light Travel(volume 4); First Contact(volume 4); Interstellar Travel(volume 4); Ion Propulsion (volume 4); Lunar Bases (volume 4); Lunar Outposts (volume 4); Mars Bases (volume 4); Science Fiction (volume 4); Star Trek (volume 4); Star Wars (volume 4); Teleportation (volume 4); Time Travel (volume 4); Vehicles (volume 4); Wormholes (volume 4).

Carlos J. Rosas-Anderson


Krauss, Lawrence M., and Stephen Hawking. The Physics of Star Trek. New York:Harper/Perennial Library, 1996.

Smith, Bill. Star Wars: The Essential Guide to Weapons and Technology. New York: DelRey, 1997.

Zubrin, Robert, with Richard Wagner. The Case for Mars: The Plan to Settle the Red Planet and Why We Must. New York: Free Press, 1996.

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Cinematic Orchestra

Cinematic Orchestra

Jazz group

Cinematic Orchestra is regarded by many critics and fans as the brainchild of jazz composer, electronics aficionado, and producer Jason Swinscoe. Swinscoe brought together a group of musicians and vocalists to construct album tracks with a contemporary sound, but which also resonate with subtle references to film composers and jazz artists of the 1960s. The group's first album, Motion, prompted critical comparisons to the music of Herbie Hancock's classic album Headhunters, and to late 1960s' Miles Davis. However, Cinematic Orchestra has maintained its British identity by preferring soul influences to funk. The group often relies on the electric piano of co-composer John Ellis for a highly danceable yet cerebral form of dance jazz, recalling the early 1970s British progressive rock-jazz band Soft Machine and the contemporary Irish disc jockey, film soundtrack composer, and recording artist David Holmes.

In 1990 Swinscoe formed his first band, Crabladder, while enrolled as an art student at Cardiff College in Wales. Crabladder blended jazz and punk music forms, displaying Swinscoe's burgeoning interest in electronic sampling. When Crabladder disbanded in the mid-1990s, Swinscoe honed his sampling skills as a disc jockey at dance clubs and on pirate radio stations. His blending of 1960s' and 1970s' jazz with live jazz performances and electronic loops brought him to the attention of Quebec record label Ninja Tunes in 1997, and the label asked him to contribute to an anthology of electronic music. He contributed a recording for the 1997 anthology Ninja Cuts 3, and released remixes of recordings done originally by Ryuichi Sakamoto and Coldcut. Swinscoe's subsequent recordings with Cinematic Orchestra, according to All Music Guide critic Heather Phares, "built on this musical blueprint, letting a group of live musicians improvise over sampled percussion or basslines." Swinscoe collaborated on the extended play compact disc singles Channel One Suite and Diabolus with fellow Ninja Tunes artists Phil France on bass, Daniel Howard on drums, and saxophonist and keyboard player Tom Chant. The quartet formed the nexus of Cinematic Orchestra's debut album, Motion.

Motion derived from Swinscoe's solicitation of musical ideas from musicians to whom he had sent tape loops and recording samples. The group united in the studio to jam to the backing recording tracks. London's Independent Sunday critic Laurence Phelan took issue with the band's name: "To call this recording 'orchestral' is pushing it to tenuous extremes, but at least it's derived from live studio sessions." The use of samples and a turntable on the recording prompted Phelan to clarify, "Which is not to say it's an over-indulgent mess of styles (although it occasionally it is). But rather that it's a testament to the ever expanding parameters of dance music and a fascinating, listenable, sometimes danceable debut." Other critics hailed the album's release, and the group earned such accolades as an invitation to perform at the Director's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony for Stanley Kubrick in 1999. Motion was also voted album of the year by listeners of Gilles Peterson's Radio One program. Minneapolis Star Tribune critic Rod Smith noted: "British electronica maestro Jason Swinscoe isn't afraid to tackle the big sounds," or to "chop them up and shuffle them around." According to Smith, "The album introduced a welcome blast of vigor and tonal color into a genre too long dominated by the turgid, half-baked minimalism of DJ Shadow and his legions of fully baked imitators."

In 2001 Cinematic Orchestra released Remixes 98-2000, an album of remixes of songs by other artists. The group also released its official follow-up to Motion, the ambitious and critically lauded album Every Day. This sophomore effort marked Swinscoe's full-fledged collaboration with Phil France. For the album, the pair used a string quartet and enlisted the aid of rhythm-and-blues legend Fontella Bass ("Don't Mess Up a Good Thing," "Rescue Me") for the album's opening track, "All That You Give." The song was inspired by Bass's former husband, the late trumpet player Lester Bowie of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. Bass also sang on the album track "Evolution." The emotional catharsis stemming from singing a song about her deceased ex-husband caused Bass to cry. "Afterward, she said it was the first time she had let herself really grieve for him," Swinscoe told Smith. Every Day also featured British rap artist Roots Manuva on the song "All Things to All Men." The group began performing live to support their catalog, and received a standing ovation at the 2001 Montreux Jazz Festival.

In 2000 the group was invited to the Porto Film Festival in Portugal, where they performed live to a screening of Dziga Vertov's 1929 silent film Man with a Movie Camera. While the title song appeared on Every Day, Cinematic Orchestra also released the entirety of Swinscoe's score for the film in 2003. Toronto Life writer Mike Doherty wrote of the score: "It's captivating to watch Flowers play the kind of complex, rushing rhythms usually delivered by a sequencer but with spontaneity and visual flair. This orchestra has a beat." Asked by reporters what his plans are for the future, Swinscoe reportedly admitted that he is aiming for the cinematic heights, and hopes to work with major film directors in the future.

For the Record . . .

Members include Patrick Carpenter , turntables; Tom Chant , saxophone; John Ellis , keyboards; Luke Flowers , drums; Phil France , acoustic bass; Dan Howard , drums; Jason Swinscoe , composer and producer.

Group formed in United Kingdom, late 1990s; performed at Director's Guild Lifetime Achievement Award Ceremony for Stanley Kubrick, 1999; released debut album, Motion, 1999; recorded and released sophomore effort, Every Day, 2002; released 1999 composed film score, Man with a Movie Camera, 2003.

Addresses: Record company—Ninja Tune, 222 Dominion #20, Montreal, Quebec H3J2X1, website: Website—Cinematic Orchestra Official Website:

Selected discography

Motion, Ninja Tune, 1999.

Remixes 98-2000, Ninja Tune, 2001.

Every Day, Ninja Tune, 2002.

The Man with the Movie Camera, Ninja Tune, 2003.



Independent Sunday (London, England), October 3, 1999, p. 8; May 25, 2003, p. 15.

Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN), June 27, 2003, p. 05E.

Toronto Life, June 2003, p. 52.


"Cinematic Orchestra," All Music Guide, (October 24, 2004).

Ninja Tune Website, (October 24, 2004).

—Bruce Walker

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Cinema Criticism


The discipline of psychoanalysis and the art of the cinema evolved in parallel at the beginning of the twentieth century. Psychoanalysts soon began interpreting the appeal and meaning of movies. As early as 1916 Hugo Münsterberg wrote The Film: A Psychological Study, in which he suggested that film transforms the external world into the mechanisms of the mind, including memory, imagination, attention, and emotion.

Although Freud himself had little interest in the cinema, one of his disciples, Hanns Sachs, served as a consultant to George Wilhelm Pabst's 1926 classic, Secrets of a Soul. This German expressionist film was the first serious treatment of psychoanalysis in film history, complete with rather sophisticated use of dream symbolism.

Since these early interdisciplinary efforts, a whole field of psychoanalytic film criticism has evolved. Systematic studies of movies first appeared in the 1950s in the French periodical, Cahiers du Cinèma. The Cahiers theorists subsequently appropriated Italian semiotics as well as the ideas of the deconstructionist Jacques Derrida and the French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan. Film scholars influenced by Lacan and Derrida focus on the "deep structures" at work in movies and how meaning is generated in film. Lacan's most important student in the field of film theory has been Christian Metz, whose work has become standard reading in academic cinema studies programs.

The Lacanian approach to film criticism centers on how audiences experience movies. The camera creates a "gaze" or perspective on the events of the film's narrative. A key aspect of the Lacanian discourse is the concept of "lack," both as the phallocentric key to sexual difference and in the symbolic sense of viewing external reality in terms of absence and presence. These ideas have been appropriated by feminist semioticians like Laura Mulvey, who suggested that the woman's body is fetishized because it creates anixiety in men, to whom it represents "lack," i.e., castration. Moreover, the cinema is viewed as historically serving the interests of patriarchy, privileging the gaze of the male hero, while subordinating the female characters as the object of the gaze.

Interpretations of film based on Lacanian ideas have generated a good deal of criticism. Many have objected to the semioticians' methodology as top-heavy with theoretical formulations and too dismissive of the actual content of a film. In addition, a number of critics have pointed out that masculinity is regularly undermined in films and that male viewers often will identify with a female character. Moreover, male bodies are often fetishized in the cinema to the same extent as the female body.

Psychoanalytic film scholars have taken a number of different approaches that part ways with the Lacanian perspective. Bruce Kawin, Marsha Kinder, and Robert Eberwein, for example, have examined films from the perspective of Freudian dreamwork. Robert B. Ray and Krin and Glen Gabbard have taken a pluralistic approach to psychoanalytic film criticism, suggesting that Lacanian interpretations are reductionist and limiting, and that broadening one's theoretical perspective may be more useful when studying film.

Glen O. Gabbard

See also: Cinema and psychoanalysis; Mannoni, Dominique-Octave; Psyché, revue internationale de psychanalyse et des sciences de l'homme (Psyche, an international review of psychoanalysis and human sciences).


Gabbard, Krin, and Gabbard, Glen O. (1987), Psychiatry and the cinema. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Metz, Christian. (1982). The imaginary signifier. Psychoanalysis and the cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

Mulvey, Laura. (1977). Visual pleasure and narrative cinema. In K. Kay, G. Peary (Eds.), Women and the cinema (pp. 412-428). New York: Dutton,.

Ray, Robert B. (1985). A certain tendency of the hollywood cinema, 1930-1980. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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cinema was the most influential mass medium in the first half of the 20th cent. In world terms, British cinema has never been regarded highly, constantly overshadowed by Hollywood, and with only the occasional international breakthrough, such as producer Alexander Korda in the 1930s, Ealing films in the 1950s, and the James Bond films in the 1960s.

Only in non-fiction has British cinema been a world-leader, with John Grierson pioneering the documentary film with Drifters (1929) and his subsequent work with the Empire Marketing Board and GPO Film Unit. Though hailed as a major contributor to the art of cinema, Grierson's reputation has been dented by recent criticisms of the documentary movement's paternalistic, middle-class ideology—with the honourable exception of Humphrey Jennings, whose portraits of Britons at peace and war (Spare Time, Listen to Britain) have been elevated to classic status.

Recent research has unearthed a more authentic British people's cinema in the workers' film movement, a network of proletarian film groups documenting the struggles of the inter-war years under the influence of Soviet revolutionary cinema. Most recent work on British cinema history has moved away from attempting to champion British films in world terms, or from elevating directors to a pantheon of ‘auteurs’. Only a few directors, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Asquith, David Lean, Carol Reed, Michael Powell, and American Joseph Losey, could lay claim to a ‘personal artistic vision’ within British cinema.

Instead research has concentrated on Britain's previously unexplored mainstream commercial fiction cinema, looking at popular genre films such as horror, war, and comedy (the Carry On and Doctor series); at the industry, studios, and financial organizations which produced and distributed them; at institutions such as the British Board of Film Censors which influenced them; at the stars who acted in them; and at the mass audiences who enjoyed them—a complete map of the social, cultural, political, and ideological contours of British cinema as a whole.

Studies of the most popular stars of the 1930s, Gracie Fields and George Formby, reveal their films as aspects of ideological struggle for the consent of the working class, with a vision of imaginary national unity ‘magically’ resolving the problems of the depression. The role of cinema in constructing a united nation is even more explicitly revealed in the films of the Second World War, under the more obvious propaganda influence of the Ministry of Information.

Cinema of the late 1940s and early 1950s reveals, most famously, Ealing films projecting Britain and the British character in the new era of austerity and Labour–Conservative welfare consensus; less obviously, Gainsborough's ‘women's pictures’ (The Wicked Lady) show deep-rooted male fears of women's wartime liberation.

Similar psychoanalytic critical methods applied to Hammer horror films of the 1950s reveal social fears and repressed sexuality translated into fictional vampire narratives. James Bond films of the 1960s incorporate themes of male sexual doubts, Cold War conflict, and Britain's declining imperial power in the creation of a mythical spy superhero. A more obvious reflection of changing British social attitudes to sex, race, class, rebellion, and youth is evident from the ‘New Wave’ films of the late 1950s and early 1960s (A Taste of Honey), and the ‘Swinging London’ films of the mid-1960s (Alfie). The dramatic decline in cinema attendance during the 1960s, following the spread of television, was halted in the 1990s and considerable recovery effected. Nevertheless, the towns of Britain are littered with old cinemas, now serving as supermarkets, warehouses, or bingo halls. See film industry.

Douglas J. Allen

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cinema Motion pictures as an industry and artistic pursuit. For much of its history, cinema has been commercially dominated by Hollywood. Public showings of silent moving pictures, with live musical accompaniment, began in the 1890s, but speech was not heard in a full-length film until The Jazz Singer (1927). By then cinema was big business with mass appeal. In Germany and Russia, startling technical innovations showed the creative possibilities of the medium. The 1930s saw the widespread introduction of colour. The growth of television in the USA during the 1940s profoundly altered film economics; the decline of Hollywood led to the rise of the independent producer and director. In post-war Europe filmmakers explored social and psychological themes with often disturbing candour. British cinema flourished in the 1950s and early 1960s, but has suffered since from a lack of finance and resources. The 1990s, with the development of computer-generated images, brought a new dimension to film. See also animation; cine camera; cinematography; cinéma vérité; documentary

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Movies (short for moving pictures) are also called motion pictures or films. They were introduced in the United States in 1896 at a New York screening made possible by American inventor Thomas Alva Edison's (18471931) kinetoscope. The kinetoscope was a device for viewing a sequence of pictures on an endless band of film using a projector invented by Thomas Armat. It was not until the early 1900s that the technology was used for entertainment.

In 1903 American director-photographer Edwin S. Porter (18701941) made The Great Train Robbery, the first motion picture to tell a complete story. (Porter had earlier worked as a cameraman with Edison.) Produced by Edison Studios, the twelve-minute "epic" established a pattern of suspense drama that was followed by subsequent moviemakers. The age of the silent film was launched.

The popularity of movies escalated during the 1920s. Innovations in movie-making technology broadened the audience. In 1927 the first full-length talking picture was released, The Jazz Singer, starring vaudevillian Al Jolson (18861950).

The ever-improving technology of motion pictures and the advent of radio combined to spell the demise of vaudeville during the 1930s. By 1930 movie houses were attracting 100 million viewers a week at a time when the total population of the United States was only 120 million and weekly church attendance was less than 60 million. By 1932 all movies were talkies, and by the end of the decade all movies used technicolor, a trademarked method for making motion pictures in color.

With a theater in almost every town people in the United States flocked to the "picture shows." Hollywood images provided an escape from everyday life. As measured in total capital investment, motion pictures became one of the nation's leading industries. Like sports, amusement parks, and radio programs, movies were meant to appeal to everyone.

An increase in leisure time and a willingness by U.S. audiences to spend money on entertainment guaranteed movie houses would be well attended. Entertainment was no longer a singular experience; Hollywood movies shown in theaters throughout the country provided entertainment for a mass consumer audience.

See also: Amusement Parks, Baseball, Thomas Alva Edison, Radio, Vaudeville

by 1930 movie houses were attracting 100 million viewers a week at a time when the total population of the united states was only 120 million and weekly church attendance was less than 60 million.

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cin·e·ma / ˈsinəmə/ • n. chiefly Brit. a movie theater. ∎  the production of movies as an art or industry: the history of American cinema.

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cinema: see motion pictures.

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CINEMA. SeeFilm .

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cinemabeamer, blasphemer, Colima, creamer, dreamer, emphysema, femur, Iwo Jima, Kagoshima, lemur, Lima, oedema (US edema), ottava rima, Pima, reamer, redeemer, schema, schemer, screamer, seamer, Selima, steamer, streamer, terza rima, Tsushima •daydreamer •dimmer, glimmer, limber, limner, shimmer, simmer, skimmer, slimmer, strimmer, swimmer, trimmer, zimmer •enigma, sigma, stigma •Wilma, Wilmer •charisma • Gordimer • polymer •ulema • anima • enema •cinema, minima •maxima • Bessemer • eczema •dulcimer • Hiroshima •Fatima, Latimer •optima • Mortimer • anathema •climber, Jemima, mimer, old-timer, part-timer, primer, rhymer, timer •Oppenheimer • two-timer •bomber, comma, momma, prommer •dogma • dolma

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