Understanding Film: Marxist Perspectives

Overview


"Marxism and Film share at least one thing in common: they are both interested in the masses."

From the introduction

Film remains one of the most dominant cultural forms in the world today. Crossing classes and cultures, it permeates many aspects of our consciousness. In film, perhaps more than any other medium, we can read the politics of time and place, past and present. The history of Marxism has intersected with film in many ways and this book is a timely reminder of the ...

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Overview


"Marxism and Film share at least one thing in common: they are both interested in the masses."

From the introduction

Film remains one of the most dominant cultural forms in the world today. Crossing classes and cultures, it permeates many aspects of our consciousness. In film, perhaps more than any other medium, we can read the politics of time and place, past and present. The history of Marxism has intersected with film in many ways and this book is a timely reminder of the fruits of that intersection, in film theory and film practice. Marxist film theory returns to film studies some of the key concepts which make possible a truly radical, political understanding of the medium and its place both within capitalism and against it. This book shows how questions of ideology, technology and industry must be situated in relation to class – a category which academia is distinctly uncomfortable with. It explores the work of some of the key theorists who have influenced our understanding of film, such as Adorno, Althusser, Benjamin, Brecht, Gramsci, Jameson and others. It shows how films must be situated in their social and historical contexts, whether Hollywood, Russian, Cuban, Chinese or North Korean cinema. The authors explore the political contradictions and tensions within dominant cinema and discuss how Marxist filmmakers have pushed the medium in new and exciting directions.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780745319926
  • Publisher: Pluto Press
  • Publication date: 6/29/2005
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Mike Wayne teaches and researches in film and television studies at Brunel University and is the author of Marxism and Media Studies, Political Film: the Dialectics of Third Cinema and the editor of Dissident Voices: The Politics of Television and Cultural Change, all available from Pluto Press.
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Table of Contents

Introduction : Marxism, film and film studies 1
1 Adorno, Benjamin, Brecht and film 34
2 Gramsci, Sembene and the politics of culture 58
3 The Althusserian moment revisited (again) 87
4 Jameson, postmodernism and the hermeneutics of paranoia 105
5 'Making it' : reading Boogie nights and Blow as economies of surplus and sentiment 131
6 The critics who knew too little : Hitchcock and the absent glass paradigm 146
7 Economic and institutional analysis : Hollywood as monopoly capitalism 168
8 Hollywood, cultural policy citadel 182
9 State cinema and passive revolution in North Korea 194
10 Narrative, culture and legitimacy : repetition and singularity in Zhang Yimou's The story of Qiu Ju 213
11 Cinemas in revolution : 1920s Russia, 1960s Cuba 232
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