Film, History of Essays and Research Papers

It was inevitable, once my old friend Noël Carroll came to Madison’s philosophy department in 1991, that we’d wind up collaborating. This anthology was an effort to gather a range of work in film theory, film analysis, film history, and the philosophy of film which seemed not to fit into the agenda canonized in academic cinema studies. The field had become defined by anthologies claimed that poststructuralism, postmodernism, cultural studies, and multiculturalism was where the action was—a Big Theory that was best qualified to explain cinema. So this book tries to suggest that there are alternatives: analytic philosophy, cognitive theory, close analysis of films, social theory that recognizes transcultural affinities, and empirical history. We hoped to open a dialogue with what the discipline took as its leading edge. Several essays in Post-Theory have been translated into various Eeuropean languages.

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Kino Pravda - Essays on Film: The History of Video Game Movies (Part 3: 2005-2009)

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Another study of a director I love. Every time I write a book on a director,I try to give it at least two strata: one for readers interested in that director,and another addressing broader issues. For Dreyer, the plan was to understandthe history of international film style through the work of a director who wenthis own way. For Ozu I was more ambitious: I went for three layers.

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First, the book sketches a history of film interpretation, from the work of early critics through the rise of academic film studies in the 1960s and 1970s, ending in the great quantity of interpretive work that emerged in the 1980s. The second part of the book tries to answer the question of how interpretation works, treating it as a skill which can be mastered. I argue that meaning is indeed made, through a constructive process. Critics build up inferences and deploy the persuasive powers of language to arrive at conclusions permitted within the institution of criticism. My approach, then, tries to be at once psychological (drawing on cognitive psychology), social (treating cognitive schemata as socially approved meaning-making processes), and rhetorical.

Kino Pravda - Essays on Film: The History of Video Game Movies (Part 1: The 1990s)
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This is my most straightforward book, both in outline andwriting style. (Michael Wood kindly remarked that it was “often funny.”)It could have drawn more explicitly on concepts I broached elsewhere, chieflyideas of narration and poetics; but I left the connections in the footnotes forinterested parties to follow up. On the History of Film Style was selectedas a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1998. An early version was “ThePower of a Research Tradition: Prospects for Progress in the Study of Film Style.“ FilmHistory 5, 4 (1994): 59–79. The book has been translatedinto Korean (Seoul: Hanul, 2002) and Croatian (Zagreb: Croatian Film Clubs Association, 2005).The Preface to the Croatian edition is .

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