Realist film theory and cinema: The nineteenth-century Lukácsian and intuitionist realist traditions
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Realist film theory and cinema' embraces studies of cinematic realism and 19th century tradition, the realist film theories of Lukács, Grierson, Bazin and Kracauer, and the relationship of realist film theory to the general field of film theory and philosophy. This is the first book to attempt a rigorous and systematic application of realist film theory to the analysis of particular films.
The book suggests new ways forward for a new series of studies in cinematic realism, and for a new form of film theory based on realism. It stresses the importance of the question of realism both in film studies and in contemporary life.
Aitken's work will be of interest to scholars and advanced students of film studies, literary studies, media studies, cultural studies and philosophy.
both representational and non-ﬁgurative in the above sense but other modernist works of art have been concerned with both representation and the realisation of a reﬂexive imperative, but have yet remained predominantly ﬁgurative in tendency. An example here might be Berthe Morisot with a Fan (1872), a late nineteenth-century work by Eduard Manet which uses brushwork in an evident, reﬂexive manner, whilst still equally evidently representing a subject. Greenberg has argued that ‘Manet’s paintings
naturalism and early French realist cinema, a more consequential inﬂuence on the development of that cinema can be located in another distinctive aspect of Zola’s work: the lyrical, pantheistic and idealistic style which was embraced in novels such as Germinal (1885) and La Terre (1887). This strand of Zolaesque naturalism also inﬂuenced an early twentieth-century school of literary naturalistic writing, which included novelists such as Leblond, Charles-Louis Philippe, Henri Bachelin, Pierre
trajectory emanating from the nineteenth-century tradition. The period from 1930 to 1938 presents a more complicated picture, however, largely because a more extensive range of realistic ﬁlms were produced during this period than was the case during the silent period. What is required now is to take the chain emanating from Zola and Antoine up to 1938, and in order to do this it will be necessary to separate that chain from the rest of the realist production of the 1930s. In order to eﬀect this,
terms of plot, dialogue and narrative, as he does when discussing literature, Lukács deﬁnes their speciﬁc deployment within cinematic aesthetic experience in terms of visual, even documentary realism. The central point here in relation to Lukács is that, in order for the authority of the medium to be maintained (an authority indispensable if ﬁlm is to play a role in successfully expressing ‘culture’), and for ﬁlm to represent Besonderheit appropriately, as a consequence of conforming to its own
entails a predominantly naturalist model, his overall stance on aesthetic realism indicates that a number of diverse and conﬂicting categories of ﬁlm are potentially equally deﬁnable as Lukácsian in some respect. Despite such an apparent compass of interpretation, however, it is possible to argue that a Lukácsian cinema can be divided into two major formal and thematic categories. The formal categories embrace (1) ﬁlms which employ the focused naturalist orientation of the Novelle and (2) ﬁlms