Prospectus Draft


The reflexive properties serve anthropological and psycho-sociological purposes; film producers and consumers reflect upon their realities. The realist tendency of cinema is interesting because due to its many facets, thus complicating our understandings of film, as theorists. If reality is a complex concept then the cinema may have the potential to address the complexities.

The documentary form may potentially reveal our realities through its representative qualities that it may possess. However, this form, traditionally has served many elitist(and modernist) interest. To illustrate, other societies that are unlike our own can be a slippery slope.

Cinema as an educative tool has been implied through theories of Kuleshov, Astruc, Bazin and Kracauer and Baudry. How do films express our realities through narrativized screen events? What does cinematic photography do for its viewers through its reflexive properties? How do the ideas of spectators become disseminated?

Cinema can illustrate an ocular-centric reality and leads us to further understands of our realities. Yet, this  grandiose ideal of film as ‘global artistic language’ is falsely misleading. Why should cinema feel a responsibility to represent all cultures/people/ideologies ? Cinema in its mass commercialized form is more entertainment-dominant. Furthermore, the belief in film as ‘universal language’ is preposterous and points to this lofty optimism felt by World War II stratified European cinematic landscape. This model of unifying film is absurd.


Annotated Bibliography

Kracauer, Siegfried. “Basic Concepts” “Inherent Affinities.” (Critical Visions 289-308).

He advocates cinematic realism on the basis of ocular-centric knowledge-making done on behalf of the spectator. Analyzes how films express our realities through fictional, studio-staged events.

Bazin, Andre. “The Ontology of the Photographic Image.” (Critical Visions 309-314).

Humanist approach to the cinematic medium. Cinematic photography has the abilitiy ’embalm ‘time for us; this property is beneficial to the understanding how the  modern spectator makes sense of their reality, when it is presented on filmic screens.

Baudry, Jean-Louis. “Ideological Effects.” (Critical Visions 34-44).

Trying to understand the functions of the cinema to understand its ideologies. The body of the spectator is not reflected within the cinema yet its reflexive properties remain on an ideological standpoint. Audiences can potentially learn about their realities through the film’s representative properties.

Elsaesser, Thomas and Malte Haegner. “Chapter Seven: Cinema as Mirror–Face and Close-up.” (Film Theory Through The Senses 63-90).

Addresses the self-reflexive, psychoanalytical influence of the European cinema of the 40s/50s(German Expression) and 60s/70s(French Nouvelle Vague, Italian Neo-Realism).


Dyer, Richard. Excerpt from Stars(1980). (Critical Visions 401-416).

Stars are products. They are consumed within the system of signification available to  film-goers. Star personas are utilized within the Hollywood system in order to become anthropomorphic symbols that humans can relate their reality to the one’s presented by media industrialists.

Kuleshov, Lev. “The Principles of Montage.” (Critical Visions 135-144).

addresses the concepts of associative montage(the juxtaposition of face/object suggests an emotive response) and ideological montage(audience’s are aware of the ideologies suggested by a film, depending on a film’s cultural origin).

Astruc, Alexandre. “The Birth of a New Avant-Garde.” (Critical Visions 350-354).

Addresses inclusive spectatorship and film as language. How can spectators decipher meaning on their own? Looks forward to a future where an unspecified avant-garde will address all of our individualized modern issues.

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