Theory Challenge



Amani Jordan

4 April 2016

Theory Challenge

Word Count: 399


Fighting Pigs Within Elsaesser’s ‘Frame’ and Arnheim’s ‘Illusion’


Film must either reflect our reality or create its own. In “Cinema as Window and Frame” film theories are found between two poles: the window and the frame.  The former, utilizes film as a window onto our reality. Here, the  cinematic medium as a realistic art expression. The latter, the frame  privileges a  formalist position: we use cinema in a self-reflexive manner, calling  attention to what one is viewing and experiencing To elaborate: “On the one hand, the window as a medium effaces itself completely and becomes invisible, and on the other, the frame exhibits the medium in its material specificity”(Elsaesser 16). In this week’s film, 10 Nights of Dream (Y. Yamaguchi, 2006), the frame shows itself more than the window.

The pig boxing match scene, is a framed fantasy,  an imagining of Shotaro’s memories. The boxing ring is complete with flashes from unseen photographers. The villainous woman becomes a grotesque hairy, fleshy pig, punishing Shotaro with freeze framed  bloody punches. The pig is created on-screen with spectacular special effects, costuming and makeup. These elements position the viewer(s) within the filmic reality of the male protagonist.

The suspension of disbelief lies within the audience members; there must a willingness to believe that Shotaro is in danger from being hurt by this anthropomorphic animal. The filmic medium does this by acting in this surrealist, fantastical, formalist way. Arnheim in “Film and Reality” elaborates on the concept of film as dream, or ‘illusion.’  He states: “Up to a certain degree, it [film] gives the impression of real life…It is always at one and the same time a flat picture post card and the scene of a living action”(Arnheim 26). Furthermore, this scene constitutes the cinematic art form as one both ‘real life’ and one of imagined fantasy.

Works Cited:

Arnheim, Rudolf.  “Film and Reality.”  1957.

Elsaesser, Thomas. “Cinema as Window and Frame.” 2015.

Yamaguchi, Yudai. 10 Nights of Dream. 2006.




Theory Response Paper EXCERPT

Change Clothes”: Rethinking Kuleshov’s And Astruc’s Male Cinematic Constructor

camera-stylo  looks to the author as genius, a figure that is gifted with knowledge and feels a duty to share it with the rest of the world. Astruc believes that the filmmaker is the new author and  holds power in producing meaning. So, what is the audience’s responsibility? Does an author really express if there is no audience to receive? Although, Astruc believes film has a future in the popular sphere; for him, the technologies of  16mm and TV allow the viewer to explore filmmaking/film viewing in different ways. The filmmaker, for Astruc, is one of modern middle class means: a man that can “possess a projector” does so with a certain level of time and money. The lower-classes of people, the working classes, will they fit into this future of Astruc? Yes, this exclusion is noticeable. Once again, it is pointing to the fact that for early film theorists, the cinematic medium is for the male genius. 

(My excerpt comes from my fourth page, last paragraph)

Here, I  apply Astruc’s ‘classical’ film theory to our cinematic landscape today: a diverse, multi-gendered one. If camera-stylo positions the author with intellectual power, where do folks that don’t go to the cinema regularly(lower socioeconomic classes), fit into this equation? Additionally, Astruc’s exclusive use of male pronouns, positions the filmic philospher as one that is masculine. What about the female audience members as well as film directors/producers/screenwriters?