Film Theory: Structure–Containment and Excess

Film is conceived as a n organized system of images, sounds, and words that bear meanings in a carefully delimited time and space, created (reproduced) whenever they are projected  on screen and perceived by viewers.

While the act of viewing and perception concludes the filmmaking process, it’s never completely closed.  Viewers, like filmmakers, are influenced by their perception of the world/society in which they currently live and by previous experiences with similar/different films.

Film scholars regard the classic Hollywood text as a complex process of interplay between forces of containment and forces excess (a state of imbalance).

Containment is manifest in the narrative structure and manifest ideology, whereas excess could be in the unconscious elements (derived from Freudian and psychoanalytic concepts) of subtle meanings, which threaten to overturn or overwhelm or contradict the coherence of film as a whole system.

Prime example could be the latent sexual anxieties in the film’s subtext, which challenge mainstream ideology and the status quo.