Film Theory: Morin, Edgar

Research in Progress:

Edgar Morin

One of the most prevalent perspectives in studying popular culture and film is the reflection theory.

French sociologist Edgar Morin (1960), in his “embourgeoisement theory,” describes a process of change in the social functions of movie stars.

The historical development of stardom: In the early period, stars were gods and goddesses, heroes, role models, the embodiment of ideal ways of behaving.

In the later period, however, stars have become identification figures, ordinary people embodying more typical ways of behavior.

There is more consensus over the thesis of evolution than over when exactly the process happened, or when was the transition point.

For some it’s the coming of sound, which involved the loss of illusion, the loss of divinity.

The voices made star more real, more grounded. Sound created the de-divinization of the stars. because it enhanced the naturalism of the film medium.

In Morin’s view, the change occurred in the beginning of the sound era, when stars were transformed from gods and goddesses, embodying society’s ideals, to identification figures, embodying society’s typical or ordinary behavior.

In addition to sound, which brought realism, there was also growth of social themes in films (such as Fury, or Mr. Smith)

Realism, psychologism, the happy ending, the humor reveal the bourgeois transformation of this imagination.  Thus, bourgeois individualism cannot accept the death  of a hero, which led to  happy endings.

Stars did not cease to be special, but they now combined the exceptional with the ordinary, the ideal with the everyday, the ideal with the typical.