Dudley Andrew's Colloquium

Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - 12:00pm

The Core and the Flow of Film Studies

The conception of Film Studies that dominates the American scene today has become parochial, that is, concerned primarily about debates in the USA or Anglophone community, despite the roots of this discipline in Comparative Literature and departments of foreign languages.  Unquestionably the take over by "Media Studies" has contributed to this, that area of research having its roots far more in the sociological directions taken by Communications, journalism and so forth. It is important in an age when cinema's global reach has become so crucial that our scholarship retain the international perspective and exchange that characterized it for so long. Looking abroad one can see a dynamic interplay, often a contest, between experts who bank on their taste (the cinephiles) and experts who rely on method and discipline. This was true in postwar France when the filmologie movement ran parallel to the more famous outreach of the ciné-clubs and their magazines such as Cahiers du Cinéma. In France today this rivalry plays itself out in the way 'Theory' (which is disciplinary to the bone) has been replaced by cine-philosophy (where cinema leads the inquiry as it always has for cinephilia). In the USA, the situation is complicated by the putative absorption of film into media. Film scholarship, this paper argues, should retain a sense of cinema's distinctiveness (as elaborated in cinephilia), even as it contributes to the larger questions that we must address in the audio-visual sphere of the 21st century.


Cinema Studies Program
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