Toward a New Film Aesthetic

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Bloomsbury Academic, Jan 1, 2008 - Performing Arts - 240 pages
2 Reviews

Film and theory have always gone hand in hand. In many ways, the professional academic study of cinema grew out of the revolutionary surges in literary and cultural theory in Europe. Since the 1970s, film theory has predominantly been a lens through which to wage philosophical and cultural war (in increasingly abstract terms), and cinema was in the right place at the right time. Toward a New Film Aesthetic argues that such an approach to film studies ultimately debilitates the study of film.

How does film theory connect with an audience that experiences film far beyond the confines of the academy? How can film scholars remain relevant to film culture? These are the fundamental question that film scholars seem to have neglected. Film theory, simply put, has detached itself from meaningful discussions of cinema undertaken with mainstream audiences.

Toward a New Film Aesthetic is a radical attempt to connect the study of film with the actual viewing and consumption practices of mainstream cinematic culture. Isaacs argues that theory has rendered the majority of approaches to film insular, self-reflective, obtuse, and—in its worst incarnation—elitist. He redefines cinema aesthetics in terms of the obsessive consumption of cinematic texts that is the hallmark of contemporary film viewing.

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Review: Toward a New Film Aesthetic

User Review  - Steen Christiansen - Goodreads

An interesting book trying to excorporate popular film from film theory, arguing that film theory has become detached from contemporary cinema. While I am sympathetic to many of Isaacs points, I do ... Read full review

Review: Toward a New Film Aesthetic

User Review  - Darren - Goodreads

Awesome reconsideration of film theory. Far more readable than most theoretical texts, yet almost undone by an endless middle chapter - a close reading of "The Matrix" which feels too late and too obvious. Read full review


A Notion of Film Aesthetics
Toward a Theory of Popular Culture
Text and Spectacle in The Matrix Franchise

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About the author (2008)

Bruce Isaacs is a Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of Sydney. He has published widely on film history and theory.

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