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Film language;: A semiotics of the cinema Unknown Binding – 1974

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First Sentence
In the days when the cinema was a novel and astonishing thing and its very existence seemed problematical, the literature of cinematography tended to be theoretical and fundamental. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 7 reviews
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Semiotics in a New Realm 23 Mar. 2000
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
This book is a collection of essays that Metz wrote regarding the semiotics of film. It uses semiotical terms that may be unfamiliar to many readers, but its worth the effort, for one will find some very interesting insights into the nature of film as a signifier. Especially interesting segments regarding the semiotics of the traditional Hollywood film.
7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
The True Pioneer in Film Theory 14 July 2005
By Lucretius Borges - Published on
Format: Paperback
Christian Metz's essays on film language are a milestone in semiotics and film analysis. If his terminology may be slightly hard to grasp immediately, it is because he is seeking clear and rigorously defined concepts, strongly grounded both in film practice and in structural linguistics. While structural lingusitics may no longer be a major reference in current intellectual discourse, Metz's book is indeed still extremely useful in understanding some key concepts of film, such as the "pro-filmic": what does an object become when it is standing in front of the camera? Abundant examples from French and American film generously help the reader (and it would be time to reprint and redistribute "Adieu, Philippine", which Metz thoroughly analyzes).
Really a history of how the search for the E=MC2 of the cinema went to naught. 22 July 2015
By Charles H. Harpole - Published on
Format: Paperback
Prof. Metz was all the rage among the new field of cinema studies, trying to find its core percepts in the 1970s. This book was required reading for aspiring cinema Ph.D.s and "semiotics" the area de jure of several newer fields of popular entertainment studies. The book seeks to elucidate the underlying basic meaningful units of the way the cinema means; that is, to find and exemplify the cinema equivalents of basic units in language. It was riding the highest on the early guess that the cinema must be like language. Despite the considerable effort, Metz did not discover these minimal meaningful units of cinema, and thus this book is one rather large "proof of a negative" either on purpose or by the way it comes out.
The book moves a long way to proving that the cinema has no discoverable unified field theory on the "linguistic level." That effort by many cinema scholars during that hot decade came to the same negative. Sadly, it analyzes a film that was generally unavailable then and now.*

Today in 2015, this book is much more of an important piece of the history of the process of seeking a unified theory of the cinema because it shows how much effort went into looking for the E=MC2 of the cinema and how little came of the search. Cinema studies moved on to gender studies, simple psychoanalyzing of films, and to continue the genre approach, the latter showing itself as the most useful analytic tool (which handily dovetailed with a good historiographical method for the understanding of the cinema).

*Several careers in cinema scholarship during that decade were built on a close analysis of films that no one could find to see.
Five Stars 1 Dec. 2014
By Sonia - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
good and classic
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Film Language Decoded 31 July 2007
By Deborah Kozdras - Published on
Format: Paperback
As a Ph.D. student in the field of new literacy studies, I have found Metz's book an invaluable aid. He provides theoretically grounded concepts that translate film components into "language".
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