For more than a century, film has drawn the interest of intellectuals, critics, artists, and scholars. Collectively, this group has asked questions about film’s fundamental qualities, its distinctive features, and its various effects. These questions eventually merged with broader debates about aesthetics, technology, culture, and society. And as these exchanges became the basis for an increasingly academic form of inquiry, they fostered their own specific set of terms, methods, and rhetorical positions. Together, these developments comprise film theory; the body of writing devoted to the critical understanding of film as a medium and as a vital part of visual culture more broadly.

As a critical enterprise, film theory is relatively ...

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