Film Criticism: Notes

Research in Progress (May 2, 2021)

We now reject French Andre Bazin’s idealist theory of the camera as reality, and the construct of image-spectator, the notion of film is an “unmediated” reality.

Instead, the focus is on the various institutional, ideological, thematic, and stylistic apparatuses that intervene between the “external” reality and the spectator.

The crisis in criticism: Rejection of the notion of narrative as coherent, plausible, authentic emotional build-up, natural outgrowth, and catharsis at the conclusion

Film criticism contests all the elements of Classic Hollywood Cinema.

Film criticism reproduces some traditional literary critical problems

The gap between a part and the whole (consisting of many parts)
Presence versus totality
Style and plot

What Coleridge called fancy and imagination, Bordwell calls molecular and molar

The individual frame
The individual shot
The words
The images

The analysis by film critics of frame by frame of a given film differs from the way that spectators experience film.

The distance between micro-text and macro-structural

The distance between molecular and molar

Film criticism imposes a historical perspective on the internal logic, the evolution of its intrinsic languages, and on the cultural apparatus whose material structure is expected to reflect and express its formal structure, a particular historical moment and phase of capital.

Genre is viewed as the privileged mediation between the formal and the historical.

Hitchcock was concerned with reconstructing the generic traditions, constraints, and raw material, out of which emerges a specific moment of historical evolution, that unique and non-generic thing called “the Hitchcockian” film.

The significance of murder, theme problem, which does not occupy us in our everyday life, becomes for Hitchcock the very metaphor of the human condition.