CB's Glossary for Students

It is equally deadly for the mind to have a system and not to have one. One will therefore have to decide to combine the two.

Friedrich Schlegel, Athenaeum (1798)


This glossary is designed to provide students in CB's classes with useful explanations of concepts and terms that they will encounter in their readings in literary criticism, critical theory, cultural studies, philosophy, intellectual history, and cinema studies. It is very much a work in progress, does not claim to be original, but rather draws heavily on many different sources (see: Bibliography), and is thoroughly pragmatic in orientation, i.e., designed primarily to be of use for students enrolled in CB's classes).

I invite you to follow the hyperlinked cross-references and the links to Extended entries that appear in the text. Following a string of cross-references that interest you is a great way to build up your critical vocabulary. I also encourage you to check out the hyperlinked examples. These are meant to give a vivid sense of the meanings and possible applications of a term and are mostly drawn from my experience in the classroom.

For comments and suggestions please send me an email: cbehler@u.washington.edu


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z #


- A -

abjection/the abject

That which upsets, disturbs, or undermines some established order or stable position because it is inbetween what we ordinarily take to be absolute opposites (for example, life and death, or the human and the mechanical). The concept of the abject is often utilized in discussions of certain literary or cinematic genre, such as the gothic, science fiction, and horror. (See also: uncanny) [Extended]

abstract expressionism

abstract film

A film that presents recognizable images in such a way that the aim is more poetic than narrative.

abstraction

absurd

A term derived from the existentialism of Albert Camus, and often applied to the modern sense of human purposelessness in a universe without meaning or value. [see: theatre of the absurd]

academy aperture/academy frame

The standard frame mask established by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1932. A ratio of width to height of 4:3, or 1.33:1. [Monaco] [Extended]

accent

The emphasis placed upon a syllable in pronunciation. The term is often used as a synonym for stress, although some theorists prefer to use 'stress' only for metrical accent. [Baldick] [Extended]

act

A major division in the action of a play, comprising one or more scenes. A break between acts often coincides with a point at which the plot jumps ahead in time.

actant

address/addresser/addressee

aesthetic/aesthetics

The term 'aesthetic' can be used to name the formal or compositional aspect of a work of art as against its content, to refer to a coherent philosophy of art, or to the artistic dimension of culture as a whole. 'Aesthetics', meanwhile, embraces the study of any or all of these things. Traditionally, however, as part of philosophy, it has concerned itself with the nature, perception, and judgement of beauty. [from: Brooker] [Extended]

aestheticism

agency

alienation

In general, though the concept is articulated and explained differently in different traditions, alienation conveys the sense of a life determined by external 'alien' forces, and a consequent lack of control or authenticity and oneness with oneself. [Extended]

alienation effect

allegory

A story or visual image with a second distinct meaning partially hidden behind its literal or visible meaning. [Extended] [Extended2]

alliteration

Also known as 'head rhyme' or 'initial rhyme,' the repetition of the same sounds—usually initial consonants of words or of stressed syllables—in any sequence of neighbouring words: 'Landscape-lover, lord of language' (Tennyson). [Baldick] [Extended]

analogy

The illustration of an idea by means of a more familiar idea that is similar or parallel to it in some significant features.

angle of view

The angle subtended by the lens. Wide-ange lenses have broad angles of view, telephoto lenses have very narow angles of view. [figure] Not to be confused with camera angle.

anomie

(sociol.) A state or condition of individuals or society characterized by a breakdown or absence of social norms and values. [Extended]

anthropology

anthropomorphism

apologetics

apologia

apparatus

A group or aggregate of instruments, mashinery, tools, materials, etc., intended for a specific use; any system of activities, functions, etc., directed towards a specific goal: the "apparatus of government." [from: RHCD] [see: cinematic apparatus]

apparent motion

a priori/a posteriori

arbitrariness, arbitrary

archaeology

archetype

archive

art

art cinema

atheism, atheist

(from Greek, atheos, without God, from a, not, + theos, God) 1. the belief that gods do not, or God does not, exist. 2. the disbelief in any kind of supernatural existence that is supposed to affect the universe. 3. the lack of belief in a particular God. (The Greeks called the Christians atheists for not believing in their gods, and the Christians called the Greeks atheists for not believing in their God.) [from: Angeles, 1992] quote

audience

The object in general terms of all forms of communication but used most often to refer to a group or massand as such distinguished from a ‘readership' or 'spectators'—the 'audiences', respectively, for forms of written communication and 'spectacles' such as sporting events. The term has its most direct association with theatre and concert-going and is used consistently to refer to film and television viewers. [from: Brooker, 1999] [Extended]

aura

auteur/auteur criticism/auteur theory

author

authoritarian personality

Concept associated with the study conducted by Adorno et al. (1950), and emerging from the work of Erich Fromm and Wilhelm Reich. Certain personality structures are posited as predisposing the self to the acceptance of anti-democratic political beliefs, and are characterised by hierarchical and authoritarian parent-child relationships, the formation of stereotypes, rigidity and repressive denial. [from: Edgar/Sedgwick, 2002]

authority

Concept in sociology and political philosophy indicating the legitimate use of power. An agent thus submits willingly to, or is obedient to, the commands of another agent if that agent is perceived to be in authority. Obedience to authority is not induced through coercion and the threat of violence. [from: Edgar/Sedgwick, 2002] [Extended]

autonomy

(from Greek, autos, self, + nemein, hold sway, assign) 1. the power of self-regulation. 2. the act of self-governing, self-determining, selfdirecting. 3. independence from the will of others. 4. the right to follow one's own volitions. An autonomous self is one that functions in an integrated way (as opposed to responding randomly and inconsistently to stimuli as they arrive), choosing and directing activities relevant to its own needs. Moral autonomy is the freedom to reach one's own moral values concerning right and wrong. [from: Angeles, 1992]

avant-garde

axis of action/180 degree line/180 degree system

In the continuity editing system, the imaginary line that passes from side to side through the main actors thus defining the spacial relations of the scene. The camera is expected not to cross the axis of action, but to stay on one side of the action to ensure consistent left-right spacial relations between objects from shot to shot.[Exercise 1] [Exercise 2] [Exercise 3]

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- B -

backlighting

The main source of light is behind the subject, silhouetting it, and directed towards the camera.[see also: key light; filler light] [from: Monaco]

bad faith

1. self-deception, especially the act of not admitting that one has freedom of choice (authentic choices) or not allowing oneself to see possible choices, and thereby avoiding responsibilities and the anxieties of making decisions. 2. lack of self-acceptance, especially the act of not admitting—or deceiving oneself about—what is true about oneself 3. lack of self-assurance or self-esteem that prevents one from acting upon existence andprovides the conditions for acting as a thing in existence. [from: Angeles]

ballad

a folk song or orally transmitted poem telling in a direct and dramatic manner some popular story usually derived from a tragic incident in local history or legend. The story is told simply, impersonally, and often with vivid dialogue. Ballads are normally composed in quatrains with alternating four-stress and three-stress lines, the second and fourth lines rhyming (see ballad metre): but some ballads are in couplet form, and some others have six-line stanzas. Appearing in many parts of Europe in the late Middle Ages, ballads flourished particularly strongly in Scotland from the 15th century onward. Since the 18th century, educated poets outside the folk-song tradition—notably Coleridge and Goethe—have written imitations of the popular ballad's form and style: Coleridge's 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' (1798) is a celebrated example. [see: literary ballad] [from: Baldick]

Bauhaus

base/superstructure

being

ontology; loss of being;

binarism, binary

(see: Bellour, "The Obvious and the Code")

blind spot

Brecht, Bertold

bridging shot

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- C -

Cahiers du cinema

"John Ford's Young Mr. Lincoln"; // "Cinema/Ideology/Criticism"//

camera angle/angle of framing

The angle at which the camera is pointed at the subject: straight on (on the same level); low (looking up); high (looking down). Not to be confused with angle of view.

camera obscura

described by Giambattista della Porta in 1589 in a treatise on optics; see: Renaissance space;

canon

canonical narrative

capitalism

//capitalist society:

castration

catastrophe

catharsis

cathexis

causality

character, characterization

cheat cut

chiaroscuro

cinema

[Metz: The Imaginary Signifier]// cinematography:

cinema studies

cinematic apparatus

classical

classical ending

classical Hollywood cinema

classical liberalism

close-up

closure

code

colonialism

colonization

commodity

common sense [Extended; Gramsci]

communication

complexity

composition

cogito

condition of possibility

connotation see: denotation

connotative motives

consciousness

false consciousness

constructivism

continuity editing

convention

counter-cinema

crane shot

critical theory

criticism

critique

cross-cutting

culture

culture industry

high/mass/popular culture

cut

cutaway

cut-in

cybernetics

cyberpunk

cyberpunk timeline

cyberspace

cyborg

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- D -

Dasein

(German, lit.: being-there) The philosopher Heidegger's technical term for human 'being-in-the-world,' or existence, characterized above all by temporality and understanding.

deconstruction

A form of second-order observation that challenges the assumption of stable meanings not subject to the time-bound and changing drawing of distinctions. [see: differance; difference]

deep focus

A use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps both the close and distant planes being photographed in sharp focus.

defamiliarization

The distinctive effect achieved by literary works in disrupting our habitual perception of the world, enabling us to 'see' things afresh, according to the theories of some English Romantic poets and of Russian formalism. [from: Baldick, 1990]

deism

A widespread mode of religious thinking that manifested the faith in human reason that characterized the European Enlightenment during the latter seventeenth and the eighteenth centuries. [Extended]

denaturalize

(see: naturalize)

denotation/connotation

Denotation signifies the primary or first meaning of a sign, i.e., that which the sign refers to in its precise or strict meaning. Connotation signifies the associations (often emotionally charged) surrounding a sign, i.e., meanings that extend beyond its strict literal definition. [from: Colapietro, 1993; Monaco, 1981] [Example]

denouement

The clearing up or 'untying' of the complications of the plot in a fictional narrative. [from: Baldick, 1990]

Derrida

desire

One of the big words in contemporary criticism that tends to have a psychoanalytic meaning. Desire is commonly distinguished from need, with the latter carrying biological connotations, while the former is understood to be shaped by culture. [Extended]

detective story/film

see: genre//the hardboiled detective: (see: "The hardboiled formula")

deviant/deviancy

"Deutschland über alles"

diachronic / synchronic

(Greek, chronos, time; dia-, through, across; syn-, with, together). A diachronic study or analysis concerns itself with the evolution and change over time of that which is studied; it is roughly equivalent to historical. A synchronic study or analysis, in contrast, limits its concern to a particular moment of time. [Extended]

diacritical

Adjective meaning distinctive or distinguishable. In order for anything to function as a sign, it needs to be distinctive or distinguishable from the other items used also as signs. Because he focused considerable attention on how signs are generated by their differences—by the way or ways they can be distinguished from other signs in the same system (for example, the same language)—Ferdinand de Saussure's conception of sign is sometimes called diacritical. See also articulation, binary opposition.

dialectical, dialectic

In the most general sense, a process involving opposites (for example, one might say that human beings stand in a dialectical relationship to their natural and cultural environment: they shape their world and this world shapes them). In a narrower sense derived from Hegel and Marx, dialectic denotes a process resulting in a synthesis or reconciliation of opposing forces or factors. [Extended]

dialogics

An influential concept developed by the Soviet linguist and critic, Mikhail Bakhtin (1895-1975) and the 'Bakhtin School.' [Extended]

Die Aktion

diegesis

In a narrative film, the world of the film's story, which includes events that are presumed to have occurred and actions and spaces not shown onscreen, i.e., not only the narration itself, but also the fictional space and time dimensions implied by the narrative.

differance

A term coined by the French philosopher Derrida, bringing together (in its French original) the senses of difference and deferment. In addition, this word also indicates the dependence of speech on writing, for the difference to a French speaker between difference and differance is no difference at all, or rather: the difference is discernible to the eye but not to the ear. [Extended]

difference

A 'big' term in contemporary criticism and cultural theory. One of the reasons for the wide circulation of this term in recent academic discourse is the influence of Saussure's view that language works as a system of differences. What something is taken to be is dependent upon what it is taken not to be, i.e., meaning is generated at least in part by a difference from what is not meant. Meaning in communication and culture is generated by marked distinctions, divisions, and exclusions. [Extended]

differentiation

A key term in systems theory referring to the emergence of a system out of an environment by that system distinguishing itself from its environment by means of some kind of border or threshhold. //functional differentiation//social differentiation//stratificatory differentiation//

discourse

linguistic discourse; cinematic discourse; discursive position;

disposition

Arrangement, or placing; mental outlook or mood; a state of mind regarding something, inclination; etc. In classical rhetoric one distinguishes between work-internal dispositio, the selection and arrangement of the parts of the work-whole, and work-external dispositio, which is 'externally' oriented towards achieving the aim of the work or its persuasive intention.

dissolve (also called lap dissolve)

A transition between shots during which the first image gradually disappears while the second image gradually appears; for a moment the two images blend in superimposition. Example1;

distantiation

distinction

division of labor

dolly

A camera support with wheels, used in making tracking shots.//dolly forward: camera tracks forward on a dolly.

double articulation

drama

dramaturgy

The theory and practice of drama.

 
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- E -

editing

1. in filmmaking, the task of selecting and joining camera takes. 2. In the finished film, the set of techniques that governs the relations among shots. //invisible editing:

ego

ego-ideal; ego libido see: narcissism;

Eisenstein

ellipsis

In narrative film, the shortening of plot duration achieved by omitting intervals of story duration. elliptical editing: shot transitions that omit parts of an event, causing an ellipsis in plot and story duration.

empirical

empiricism

empowerment

the Enlightenment

A philosophical and cultural movement begun in seventeenth-century English philosophy but developed throughout Europe in the eighteenth century and an immediate influence upon the American and French Revolutions. Its principal belief was in the power and authority of reason in intellectual and practical life, and a number of allied convictions stemmed from this: human perfectibility, scientific and social progress, and tolerance and equality before the law. Its influence can be associated with European modernization understood as the emergence of a functionally differentiated society, the rise of the bourgeoisie, and with improvements in print technology. The latter helped circulate key ideas but also inspired the characteristic Enlightenment aim of the French Encyclopaedists to compile a summation of human learning and its practical application in one publication (an eventual 17 volumes, with 11 of supplementary technical illustration assembled by Diderot and Jean D'Alembert in 1772). [Extended]

enunciation (from French: Žnonciation)

The time-bound act of making a speech act. Distinguished from 'the enunciated' (enonce)—the statement itself and the patterns of organizing signifying elements in an instance of signification—'enunciation' refers to the relation of those patterns to the concrete signifying situation and the position of 'speaker' and 'listener' they presuppose.

epic

epilogue

A concluding section of a fictional work. Some novels have epilogues in which the characters' subsequent fates are briefly outlined. [from: Baldick, 1990]

epigram

episteme

epistemology

essence

establishing shot

Generally a long shot that shows the audience the general location of the scene that folows, often providing essential information, and orienting the viewer.

estrangement

ethnocentrism

Refers to the ways in which the language, beliefs or customs of a particular ethnic group are reinforced, defended or promoted, whether in intellectual work, a political or military campaign, or a cultural or educational programme; the application of the norms of own's own culture to that of others, and, as such, a common attitude of all cultures towards alien ones. [Extended]

eurocentrism

A term describing the way in which a particular cultural order, 'centred' upon European intellectual traditions and socio-political systems, has been generalized so as to apply to the world at large. In essence, a European ethnocentrism that was passed down from the old-European Christian tradition, and amplified by colonialism and imperialism. [Extended]

everyday life

eyeline match cut

A cut in which the first shot shows a person looking off in one direction and the second shows a nearly space containing what he or she sees.

exemplum

existence

existentialism

exposition

The setting forth of a systematic explanation of or argument about any subject; or the opening part of a play or story, in which we are introduced to the characters and their situation, often by reference to preceding events. (adj.: expository; verb: to expound)

expressionism

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- F -

fable

fabula

fade

fade in: a dark screen that gradually brightens as a shot appears. fade out: a shot gradually darkens as the screen goes black. Occasionally fade-outs brighten to pure whilte or to a color.

fading

A term used metaphorically to describe the (Browne)

falsification

farce

fascination, to fascinate

To attract and hold spellbound by a unique power, personal charm, unusual nature, etc.; to capture the interest or hold the attention. (from Latin, fascinatus, past principle of fascinare to bewitch, enchant, from fascinus spell, witchcraft)

femme fatale

[lit.; fatal woman] An irresistibly attractive woman who leads men into danger. Film noir gives a very central role to the femme fatale and often privileges her as active, intelligent, powerful, dominant and in charge of her own sexuality—at least until the end of the film when she typically pays for it (through death or submission to the patriarchal system).

feminism

fetishism, to fetishize

One needs to distinguish between two basic senses in which this term is generally used in the critical literature. (1) The one sense is derived from Marx's critique of religion and refers to the way in which human creations (fetishes, spirits, gods) are treated as if they were independent beings endowed with their own power. What are really products of human social activity can thus come to control and oppress their human creators (see also: reification). Marx famously extends this analysis of religion (which is developed from Feuerbach's projection theory) to capitalism and to bourgeois economic theory, which, in a similar fashion, are described as fetishizing commodities and the economy (see: Marx quote). (2) The other sense of fetishism comes from Freud and psychoanalysis and refers to the way in which certain images, body-parts, or favorite objects (such as shoes, cars, guns) can be invested with a heightened sense of fascination and (often erotic) power. Advertisement, photography, and movies are prime arenas for the alluring play of fetishism and the Freudian sense of this term is widely used in the critical analysis of these media (some examples).

Feuerbach, Ludwig

fiction

figurative

literal

fill light

Illumination from a source less bright than the key light, used to soften deep shadows in a scene. See: three-point lighting.

film

//film analysis: //film form: (Bordwell/Thomson1997: 65ff.)//narrative film:

film noir

The term means "black film," applied by French critics to a type of American film, usually in the detective or thriller genres, and indicating a dark view of life and a concentration upon human depravity, failure, and despair. The term also implies a cinematic style—a way of lighting, of positioning and moving the camera, the use of an introspective voice-over narration, often heavily reliant on flashbacks—and a choice of setting, generally a seedy, urban landscape, a world gone wrong. [Extended]

flashback

A scene or sequence that is inserted into a scene in 'present' time and that deals with the past.

flicker fusion

focus

The sharpness of the image. A range of distances from the camera will be acceptably sharp. //deep focus: A use of the camera lens and lighting that keeps both the close and the distant planes being photographed in sharp focus. //Focus plane: the plane in the scene being photographed upon which the lens is focused, measured as a distance from the film plane. //Focus pull: to refocus during a take, to change the focus plane.

following shot

A shot with framing that shifts to keep a moving figure onscreen.

form/formal: //form/medium:

formalism, formalist

fovea centralis

Anat. a small pit or depression at the back of the retina, forming the point of sharpest vision.

frame

//In cinematography, frame describes the material unit of film ("the single transparent photograph in a series of such photographs printed on a length of cinematographic film," "twenty-four frames a second") and, equally, the film image in its setting, the delimitation of the image on screen. (Heath) //framing: the use of the edges of the film to select and compose what will be visible onscreen.

frame narrative

Frankfurt School

free indirect style

free verse

Freikorps

Freud, Sigmund (

function

A notion that arises in the description made by the observer of the components of a machine or system in reference to an encompassing entity, which may be the whole machine or part of it and whose states constitute the goal that the changes in the components are to bring about. [WEB Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems]

functional differentiation

According to the systems theory developed by the sociologist Niklas Luhmann, modernization involves the ever more important and pronounced emergence of functionally distinct sub-systems within society as a whole (such as the economy, science, politics, law, education, religion, art, etc.). These functionally specialized social sub-systems are more or less autonomous and self-regulating. For instance: religion does not (or should not) interfere in science; politics does not (or should not) interfere in art; the economy should regulate itself via the free market; etc.

future perfect

"What is realized in my story is not the past definite of what once was since it is no more, nor the perfect of what has been in what I am, but the future perfect of what I will have been for what I am in the process of becoming" (Lacan).

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- G -

gaze

gender

The cultural differentiation of male from female. [Extended]

genre

The term for a type of artistic or cultural composition characterized by a set of recognizable conventions of character, iconography and narrative. For the most part the term is used in accounts of 'popular genres,' such as science fiction, detective fiction, the musical, the western, sopa opera, sitcom, etc.

German expressionism

A style of film common in Germany in the twenties, characterized by dramatic lighting, distorted sets, and symbolic action and character. The movement also involved painting and theater.

George, Stefan

Goethe

Gestalt

The recognition of wholeness and overall form rather than of individual component elements. The whole is different from the sum of its parts, because meaning derives from the interrelationships of those parts, and of each part of the whole. [from O'Sullivan]

Goebbels, Joseph

gothic

great chain of being

A dominant old-European conception or schema of thought: everything in existence is arranged in a hierarchy, which originates in God and ranges through angel, man, beast, plant, to inorganic matter. The idea commonly involved the principle of plenitude: there are no gaps in the chain, since God in creating the best of worlds would wish to fill it as full as possible with created entities, each given the attributes appropriate to its place. With every step in the chain (or every rung on its ladder) occupied, then the basic question for man is where he is located. Trouble arises when man's pride leads him to wish to be what he is not.

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- H -

habitus

Hauptmann, Gerhart

Hays code

MPPA (Motion Picture Producers Association)

Heath, Stephen

Heath, "Narrative Space";

Heidegger, Martin

hermeneutics

This term (derived from the name of Hermes, the Greek god who served as herald and messenger for the other gods) is often used in a wide sense to mean the art or theory of interpretation, though its original meaning was the interpretation of sacred scripture. "According to its original definition, hermeneutics is the art of clarifying and mediating by our own effort of interpretation what is said [or written] by persons we encounter in tradition [that is, at some remove, historical or cultural, from ourselves]" (Gadamer).

hermeneutics of suspicion

Designates an approach to the interpretation of a text or discourse in which the principal concern is to uncover what is not said rather than to recover the meaning of what has been said. This approach strives to bring to the surface what characteristically remains hidden in, but vital—often even central—to the text or discourse. Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud are often considered masters of the hermeneutic of suspicion, for Marx is bent on unmasking ideological distortions and Freud on exposing unconscious motives. Friedrich Nietzsche is also widely recognized as a thinker uncannily adept at revealing what it going on "behind the scenes."

Hesse, Hermann

heuristic

Providing assistance in discovering (or in presenting) a truth or solving a problem, for example, a model or a useful hypothesis. From: Gk. heuriskein: to find out , discover. [Harper]

hierarchical differentiation

high art

see: high culture

Hindenburg

historicism

historicity

history

1. the branch of knowledge dealing with past events. 2. a continuous, systemaic narrative of past events as relating to a particular people, country, period, person, etc., usually written as a chronologcal account; chronicle: a history of France: a medical history of the patient. 3. the aggregate of past events. 4. the record of past events and times, esp. in connection with the human race. (from Greek, historia learning or knowing by inquiry, history; deriv. of history one who knows or sees)

Hitchcock

Hölderlin

horror

the human sciences

humanism, humanist

//anti-humanism:

hyperreality

A term associated with the effects of mass culture reproduction, suggesting that an object, event, experience so reproduced replaces or is preferred to its original: that the copy is 'more real than real'. [Expanded]

hypertext

Generally, any text that contains links to other documents—words or phrases in the document that can be chosen by a reader and which cause another document to be retrieved and displayed. [from: Glossary of Internet Terms] [Expanded]

hypostatize

To treat or regard a concept of idea as a distinct substance or reality. See: reification.

hypothesis

A proposition or set of propositions set forth as an explanation for the occurrence of some specific group of phenomena, either asserted merely as a provisional conjecture to guide investigation (working hypothesis) or accepted as highly probable in the light of established facts. (From Greek, basis, supposition) [Nietzsche quote]

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- I -

the I

icon/iconic

iconic representation

iconography

//codes of iconography:

idea

idealism

idealization

identification

The imaginative merger of an individuals' sense of identity with that of another. Narratives often invite an audience to identify with principal characters, i.e., not just to empathize with them, but to vicariously take part in their actions and experiences. [Extended: the Freudian sense of identification]

identity

The state of fact of remaining the same one or ones, as under varying aspects or conditions; the condition of being oneself, and not another.

ideology, ideological

One of the 'big' terms in contemporary theory and criticism derived principally from Marxism. Following Althusser one can describe ideology is a requisite component of any society. It consists in the network of meaning that provide the means with which individuals may think of their existence. Since such networks operate by delimiting as well as providing possible significations of existence, ideology is also restrictive of thought and experience. Such restrictions are crucial components of social organization and order: To maintain themselves over time, societies require that their multitude of agents have a minimal commonality of "consciousness," which means that those possibilities and limitations on thought and experience must to a significant degree be produced as an integral part of any lasting societal organization.[Extended] //dominant ideology: //ideological state apparatuses//

ideology critique

illocution

illusion

image

Commonly understood as the mental or visual representation of an object or event as depicted in the mind, a painting, photograph, or film. In film-making and film studies 'image' is also synonymous with a single shot in an edited sequence. The term has a further long-standing usage in literary discourse, especially in connection with poetic language, where it refers to the indirect comparison of one object or experience with another (through metaphor, metonymy, analogy), or is used, along with the term 'imagery', to refer to any figure of speech or, collectively, to figurative language. [Extended]

the imaginary

A psychoanalytic term (Lacan) that is distinguished from "the symbolic," in order to denote the susceptibility of human beings to the power of images, identifications, and aesthetic constructs, as distinguished from their susceptibility to language and more abstract symbolic systems. The imaginary is thought of as being more primordail and in terms of socialization of having its effects prior to the socializing force of symbolic systems. The so-called "mirror-stage" is an important tool in the employment of this concept.

individualism

induction

institutions

Those enduring regulatory and organizing structures of any society, which shape and control individuals and individuality. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994] [Extended]

intellectual history

intellectual

'Intellectual' is a term of recent, twentieth-century origin and has been applied retrospectively to earlier centuries as well as in contemporary contexts. In its earlier usage it describes those of different occupations in the professions, sciences and arts who claim or are credited with the right to speak over and above particular interests on matters of general philosophical, ethical and aesthetic import. What gives intellectuals this role is their own expertise and the authority of reason and truth guiding their discourse. As such, intellectuals are the inheritors of a faith in Enlightenment reason and a product of modernity while they are at the same time critical of the social and political effects of this inheritance. [Extended]

intentional fallacy

internalization

The process whereby a particular cultural construction of order and meaning shapes the identity of an individual in the course of socialization.

interpellation

A term employed by the French Marxist philosopher, Louis Althusser (1918 90) to name the process by which a human subject is 'hailed', or addressed, and thus positioned in relation to ideology. [Extended] [Extended: Althusser's importance to film theory]

interpretation

Reading, explicating, making sense: these are three names typically given to the activity of "interpretation." [Extended]

typological and allegorical interpretation

intertextuality

A term implying that individual texts are inescapably related to other texts and that their meanings are correspondingly provisional and plural according to how these relations are discerned and highlighted. [Extended]

invisibility

(see also: latency)

invisible observer

(Pudovkin, V.I. 1960. Film Technique. New York: Grove, 67-71 /PN1995 .P832/

irony

A subtly humorous perception of inconsistency, in which an apparently straightforward statement or event is undermined by its context so as to give it a very different significance.

Italian neo-realism

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jouissance

jump cut

Jünger

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Kant

Kapp Putsch

key light

In the three-point lighting system, the brightest illumination coming into the scene.

Kultur

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Lacan, Jacques

Prominent French psychoanalyst and theorist. His contribution is often described as a far-reaching reinterpretation of psychoanalysis from a structuralist perspective that has exerted a significant influence on semiotics, literary theory, and cinema studies. So, for instance, much of the conceptual apparatus for some of the most influential work on subject positioning in cinema has been provided by his formulations [see: Lacan and cinema studies].

langue/parole

leitmotif

League of Nations

Levi-Strauss

libido

lighting

linearity

linguistics

literal

figurative

literature

logocentrism

long take

A shot that continues for an unusually lengthy time before the transition to the next shot.

the look

A vague, but important term in film analysis. Mulvey: "There are three different looks associated with cinema: that of the camera as it records the profilmic event, that of the audience as it watches the final product, and that of the characters at each other within the screen illusion. The conventions of narrative film deny the first two and subordinate them to the third, thc conscious aim being always to eliminate intrusive camera presence and prevent a distancing awareness in the audience. Without these two absences (the material existence of the recording process, the critical reading of the spectator), fictional drama cannot achieve reality, obviousness, and truth."

Lumiere brothers

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- M -

manifest content

Mann, Heinrich

Mann, Thomas

marginal situations

From German Grenzsituationen, lit. border-situations, referring to human experiences that challenge the everyday, or common sense way of making sense of the world. "The marginal situation par excellence, however, is death. Witnessing the death of others (notably, of course, of significant others) and anticipating his own death, the individual is strongly propelled to question the ad hoc cognitive and normative operating procedures of his "normal" life in society." [from: Berger, "Religion and World-Construction"]

Marx

quotes

marxism

mass culture

mass media

match

match on action: a continuity editing cut which splices two different views of the same action together at the same moment in the movement, making it seem to continue uninterrupted.

materialism, materialist

matrix

That which gives origin or form to something, or which serves to enclose it. (from Latin, mater, mother)

meaning

Perhaps the most important concept in the human sciences and hence one of the most difficult to grasp. Meaning should not be thought of as somehow contained or 'present' within an event, text, message, work, or behavior. Rather, meaning 'is,' or exists, only as the always momentary, or temporal creation of understanding and as such it constitutes the overall medium within which all time-bound events of consciousness and communication occur and take form.

medium/form

medium shot

melodrama

A popular form of sensational drama that flourished in the 19th-century theatre, surviving in different forms in modern cinema and television.

metaphor

metonymy

mentality

message

That which is transmitted in the process of communication; the means by which the sender affects the receiver. [from: O'Sullivan 1994]

micropolitics

mimesis, mimetic

minimalism

mirror-stage

According to the psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan, a phase in the constitution of the human individual located between the ages of six and eighteen months. Though still in a state of powerlessness and motor incoordination, the infant anticipates on an imaginary plane the apprehension and mastery of its bodily unity. This imaginary unification comes about by means of identification with the image of the counterpart as total Gestalt; it is exemplified concretely by the experience in which the child perceives its own reflection in a mirror. The mirror phase is said to constitute the matrix and first outline of what is to become the ego. [from Laplanche/Pontalis] [Extended]

mise-en-scene

Literally, the "putting-in-the-scene." All of the elements placed in front of the camera to be photographed: the settings and props, lighting, costumes and make-up, and figure behavior. The term usually denotes that part of the cinematic process that takes place on the set, as opposed to montage, which takes place afterwards during editing.

misrecognition

modernism

The main use of the term in literary and cultural theory is to denote the artistic production located somewhere between the 1880s and the 1930s. The term denotes artistic experiment and novelty, a radical overhaul of existing forms of representation and available traditions and, as such, is seen to set itself against the emerging mass or popular culture of the same period. In addition, many see these varied experiments in form as the response to a specific moment in the history of modernity; an attempt to register the accelerated pace and disorienting rhythms of specifically urban life and its attendant structures of feeling in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. To this end, modernism introduced new contemporary subject matter into 'high' art (provoking long-term censorship in the case of Joyce's sometimes scatological Ulysses), but above all sought to innovate in matters of artistic form. Among the new techniques employed were estrangement, montage, collage, demotic or everyday language, 'stream-of-consciousness' or interior monologue, parody and pastiche, and, pervading all these, a heightened self-consciousness towards the technical means of art itself. [Extended] //high modernism:

modernity, modern

Often conflated with modernism, though these terms should be distinguished. Modernity describes the long period of evolving 'modern' social, economic, and political forms and is most often sited in the two centuries from the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and French Revolution of 1789 to the twentieth-century post-war period. Modernity centrally names the processes of increasing rationalization in social and political life, along with the associated technological development and accumulation of people in cities which combined to produce the emerging new society of the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries. In other words, it describes the processes of industrialization and bureaucratization associated with capitalist development. However, an exclusively economic account omits the 'philosophy' of modernity: namely a belief in scientific and social progress, human rights, justice and democracy which inspired the American and French Revolutions as well as much later social, economic and political theory, including Marxism. [Extended; systems theory]

montage

A term used especially in connection with modernism to refer to the newer techniques of artistic composition and editing which combined disparate images, image and text, or different media in the making of a new work. In general terms it is often used synonymously with 'collage' and bricolage. Its main association was accordingly with the use of the new technologies of photography and cinema and the development in the European avant-garde of the 1910s—1930s of the techniques of photomontage and film composition.[Extended] montage sequence: A segment of a film that summarizes a topic or compresses a passage of time into brief symbolic or typical images. Frequently dissolves, fades, superimpositions, and wipes are used to link the images in a montage sequence; //accelerated montage: A film sequence edited into progressively shorter shots to create a mood of tension and excitement.//parallel montage (paralel action): A device of filmic narration in which two scenes are observed in parallel by cross-cutting.//

montage films

motif

A conspicuous element, such as a type of incident, device, reference, or formula that is repeated in a significant way in a work.

motivation

multistable figure

Examples

musical

myth, mythology

A widely and variously used term referring to a culture's way of understanding, expressing and communicating to itself concepts that are important to its self-identity as a culture. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994] [Extended]

 

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- N -

narcissism

By reference to the myth of Narcissus, love directed towards the image of oneself. [from: Laplanche/Pontalis] [Extended]

narration

The act or process of relating a sequence of events, distinguished from other kinds of communication (dialogue, description, commentary, etc.), and distinguished from the events recounted, i.e., from the story. [from: Baldick, 1994]

narrative

A recounted tale or story; the devices, strategies and conventions governing the organization of a story (fictional or factual) into sequence. [Extended] narrative significance; // narrator; // narrative authority; // narrating agency; // act of narration:

narrative cinema

The dominant film form. Metz: "The cinema, which could have served a variety of uses, in fact is most often used to tell stories—to the extent that even supposedly nonnarrative films (short documentary films, educational films, etc.) are governed essentially by the same semiological mechanisms that govern 'feature films.'" See: classical Hollywood cinema.

narratology

narrator

naturalism

naturalize

The process whereby a cultural construction takes on the guise of being natural. (see: reification; denaturalize)

negotiation

A term used in theories of reading and the production of meaning in communication. When a text is read, the reader interacts or negotiates with it, which involves bringing their own cultural experience and their own meaning systems to bear upon the text. The meaning of the text that this reading yields is the result of the 'negotiation' between the text and the socially constructed reader—it is therefore potentially unique. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994]

new criticism

nondiegetic material

nondiegetic music

norm/normative

The set of rules, standards, and expectations that both generate and regulate social interaction and communication. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994] [Extended]

neoclassicism

neoformalism

(Bordwell, David)

New Criticism

new historicism

Nietzsche, Friedrich

novel

novella

Novalis

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observer, observation

l) One who watches without participating. (2) The source of factual evidence; a person who communicates his sense impression of the external environment. (3) Everything said is said to an observer. (Witz, in Von Foerster, 1974) (4) Observer dependence—the concept that knowledge of reality is dependent upon the perceptions of the observer. (5) Observer inseparability - the concept that observation or measurement affects the state of the object being observed, that is, objective measurement or observation from outside a system is not possible, and the act of observing makes the observer part of the system under study. Therefore, the observer or measuring device should be included in the definition of the system. (Weinberg) (6) A system which, through recursive interactions with its own linguistic states, may always linguistically interact with its own states as if with representations of its interactions. (Maturana and Varela, 1979) [WEB Dictionary of Cybernetics and Systems] [second-order observation; invisible observer]

/oedipal crisis/

oedipal trajectory/oedipus complex

patriarchy, castration; oedipal formation;

oeuvre

The French word for a work, often used to refer instead to the total body of works produced by a given writer or director.

old-European

In its broadest sense the term old-European denotes the succession of European societies and traditions that span from the ancient Greeks, through the Roman empire, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, to the 17th and 18th centuries. In its narrower sense the term refers to Europe of the late-medieval/early-modern period. Old-Europe's principle of social differentiation was stratificatory, i.e., the social order was based on a division into hierarchically organized strata. The modern European social order (roughly post-1700) gradually moves away from this as the dominant principle of social organization and differentiation towards a society based on a radically different form of stability and order, namely, on the principle of functional differentiation.

omnipresence, narrational

ontology, ontological

Ophul

the Other

overdetermination

 

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- P -

pan shot

Movement of the camera from left to right or from right to left around the imaginary vertical axis that runs through the camera. An the screen, it produces a mobile framing which scans the space horizontally.

palimpsest

Barthes

panopticon

parable

paradigm

paradigmatic

(see: syntagmatic)

paradox

parallel action (also called: parallel montage)

A device of narrative in which two scenes are observed in parallel by cross-cutting.

parody

pastiche

[pas-teesh] In literature, a work composed from elements borrowed either from various other writers or from a particular earlier author. [from: Baldick, 1990] [Extended]

pastoral

In literature, a highly conventional mode of writing that celebrates the innocent life of shepherds and shepherdesses in poems, plays, and prose romances. [from: Baldick, 1990] [Extended]

patriarchy, patriarchal society

Peirce

perception

Metz, "The cinema's signifier is perceptual."

peripateiea

persistence of vision (also called: retinal persistence)

The physiological phenomenon that makes cinema and television possible. An image is retained in the retina of the eye for a short period after it is seen so that, if another image takes its place soon enough, the illusion of motion can be created. See: phi-effect.

personification

perspective effect

Renaissance space;

perversion

In psychoanalysis, all humans are by nature "pervers," insofar as perversion involves deviation from the so-called 'normal' sexual act, defined as coitus with a person of the opposite sex directed towards the achievement of orgasm by means of genital penetration. [from: Laplance/Pontalis] [Expanded]

phallocentrism

phallus

In psychoanalytic terms the

phenomenology

phenomenon (plural: phenomena)

In technical philosophical terms the appearance of things, the way things appear to us in contrast to noumena, or things as they are in themselves, apart from how they appear to us or any other kind of observer. For Kant, noumena are in principle unknowable; thus our knowledge is limited to appearances, or phenomena.

phi-effect (also called: phi phenomenon)

The psychological perception of motion which is caused by the displacement of two objects seen in quick succession in neighboring positions. Compare with persistence of vision, which is physiologically rather than psychologically defined.

photography

plagiarism

pleasure

plot

In a narrative film, all the events that are directly presented to us, everything visibly and audibly present in the film before us. In narratology plot (also sometimes called discourse) is often distinguished from story as the viewer's imaginary construction of all the events in the narrative. [Extended; narrative film]

poetic justice

point of view

// point-of-view shot (POV shot) A shot taken with the camera placed approximately where the character's eyes would be, showing what the character would see. Often point of view shots are cut in before or after a shot of the character looking. Examples.// literal/figurative point of view: Nick Browne

pornography

Joseph W. Slade , "Pornography in the Late Nineties"

portmanteau word

postmodernism

post-structuralism

power

primacy effect

primal scene

primary process

see: secondary process

problematic

profilmic event

projection theory

prose

protagonist

proverb

psychoanalysis

pull-back shot

A tracking shot or zoom that moves from the subject to reveal the context of the scene.

 

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queer theory

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- R -

rack focus

Shifting the area of focus from one plane to another during a shot and sometimes several times within a shot.

range of knowledge

rationalism

reaction shot

A shot that cuts sway from the main scene or speaker in order to show a character's reaction to it.

reader-response criticism

reading, to read

//close reading:

(see: text)

realism

In literature, a mode of writing that gives the impression of recording or 'reflecting' faithfully an actual way of life. Modern criticism frequently insists that realism is not a direct or simple reproduction of reality, but a system of conventions producing a lifelike illusion of some real world outside the text, by processes of selection, exclusion, description, and manners of addressing the reader. As a dominant literary trend realism is associated chiefly with the 19th-century European novel of middle- or lower-class life. [from: Baldick, 1990]

reality

// impression of reality:

reality

impression of reality;

reception

//reception theory: (also called reader-response theory)

reduction of complexity

reductionism

The tendency to explain complex phenomena as though they were nothing but disguised instances of simpler phenomena; the tendency to reduce what is higher to what is lower.

reestablishing shot

A return to a view of an entire space after a series of closer shots follwoing the establishing shot.

reference

The effect of a sign in the mind of the user, deriving from the user's previous experience of the sign and its object. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994]

referent

That to which a sign refers. //universal referent:

regime

scopic regime;

register

temporal register;

reification, to reify

From German Verdinglichung, lit.: "thingification"; to "thingify." The apprehension of human phenomena as if they were things. To reify something is to treat a product of human activity as if it were something else than a social creation, as if it were a fact of nature, the result of cosmic laws, or the manifestation of a divine will. Examples

relations of production

religion

Remarque

Renaissance space (also: Quattrocento perspective)

representation

The social process of making sense within all available signifying systems: speech, writing, print, painting, film, video, etc.. The terms refers both to the process and to the product of making signs stand for their meanings. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994)]

repression

A foundational concept of psychoanalytic theory. [see: Laplanche/Pontalis quote]

reproduction

retardation

reverse angle

A shot from the opposite side of a subject. In a dialogue scene, a shot of the second participant.

rhetoric

The art of persuasion, in speaking, writing, or the production of images. [Extended] //rhetorical criticism: an approach to literary criticism that emphasizes the author's use of language in communicating with the reader. / / rhetorical effort:

rhyme

the identity of sound between syllables or paired groups of syllables, usually at the ends of verse lines; also a poem employing this device. [Extended]

ritual

role

romance

(heterosexual romance)

Romanticism

Russian formalism

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- S -

saccade

The flick movement of the eye from one position to another that occurs when reading images, due to the fact that the receptor organs that permit visual acuity are concentrated (and properly arranged) only in the fovea centralis. [see: example of a saccade pattern]

sacred/profane

sadism

sado-masochism

satire

A mode of writing that exposes the failings of individuals, institutions, or societies to ridicule and scorn.

Saussure, Ferdinand de

scene

In film analysis, a complete unit of narration of a narrative film: a series of shots (or a single shot) that take place in one time and space, or a segment that uses crosscutting to show two or more simultaneous actions.

schema, (plural: schemata), schematism

General: A generalized diagram or scheme. The term has come to play an important role in cognitive and information theory and in the study of communication. [Extended]

Schopenhauer

science fiction

scopophilia

The love, or pleasure of looking; making other people the objecy of an erotically charged, curious and controlling gaze. A psychoanalytic term derived from Freud's Three Essays on Sexuality that is often used in film theory to describe how films typically appeal to viewers on a primordial and highly narcissistic level of pleasurable looking. [see: voyeur]

screen direction

The right-left relationship in a film scene, set up in an establishing shot and determined by the characters and objects in the frame, by the directions of movement, and by the characters' eyelines. Continuity editing will attempt to keep screen direction consistent between shots. See: axis of action; eyeline match cut.

secondary process

see: primary process; dream work;

second-order observation (also called second-order cybernetics)

Denotes the practice of observing an observer, specifically by describing the distinctions, schemata, and frames the observing system uses to generate its observations.

secularization

segment

A vague term in film analysis denoting a short section of the film, often shorter, and usually no longer than a scene. "A moment in the filmic chain which is delimited both by an elusive but powerful sense of dramatic or fictional unity and by the more rigorous notion of identity of setting and characters of the narrative" (Bellour). //segmentation: The process of dividing a film into segments for analysis.

selectivity

semantics

The philosophical or linguistic study of meanings in language. The semantic aspect of any expression is its meaning as opposed to its form. [from: Baldick, 1990]

semiology/semiotics

The study or science of signs.

semiotic modality of representations (Zillmann)

sequence

Term commonly used for a moderately large segment of a film, involving one complete stretch of action. In a narrative film, often equivalent to a scene.//Sequence shot: a long, usually complex shot, often including complicated camera movements and action. Also called plan-sŽquence.//

setup

A camera and lighting position that, in effect, determines the spacial field of (and what is excluded from!) the shots taken from this position. When large, unwieldy cameras and lights are used, the number of different set-ups required can become an important economic factor. (For a close reading of a scene structured by two setups see: Browne, "The Spectator in the Text.")

shock

short story

shot

A single piece of film, however long or short, without cuts, exposed continuously.//aerial shot: A shot taken from a crane, plane, or helicopter.//close shot (or close-up): a framing in which the scale of the object shown is relatively large; most commonly a person's head seen from the neck up, or an object of comparable size that fills most of the screen.//extreme long shot: a panoramic view of an exterior location photographed from a considerable distance.//long shot: includes at least the full figures of the subjects, usually more. //master shot: a long take of an entire scene, generally a relatively long shot that facilitates the assembly of component closer shots and details. The editor can always fall back on the master shot, consequently, it is also called a cover shot.//medium shot: a framing in which the scale of the object shown is fairly large; a human figure seen from the chest up. //tracking shot: a mobile framing that travels through space forward, backward, or laterally.

shot/countershot (also called: shot/reverse shot)

Two or more shots edited together that alternate characters, typically in a conversation situation. In continuity editing, characters in one framing usually look left, in the other framing, right. Over-the-shoulder framings are common in shot/reverse-shot editing. Example: Vertigo3; Example: Suspicion;

sign

Traditionally: something that stands for something else. A sign has three essential characteristics: it must have a physical form, it must refer to something other than itself, and it must be used and recognized as a sign. [Extended]

significance

signification

The process by which signs and thus meanings are generated and produced. [from: Colapietro, 1993] [Extended] cinematic signification; cinematic signification;

signifying system

simulacrum

("Simulacrum and Art History")

Situationists

the social fact

Durkheim;

socialization

society

//dominant society: //primitive society: //social relations:

sociology of knowledge

sophist

speech act

spectacle

[Extended]

spectator

The individual member of a film audience who is addressed by the film. The term is commonly used in semiotic/psychoanalytic/feminist film theory. [Extended] [Extended: position of the spectator]

Spengler, Oswald

stab in the back

stable state

star system

stereotype

story

In narrative film, all the events that we see and hear, plus all those that we infer or assume to have occurred, arranged in their presumed causal relations, chronological order, duration, and spacial locations. In narratology, story is often distinguished from plot (or discourse), as the actual presentation of certain events in the narrative.

storyboard

A tool used in planning film production, consisting of comic-strip-like drawings of individual shots or phases of shots with descriptions written below each drawing.

stratification

Luhmann speaks of stratification "when society is represented as an order of ranks and order has become unimaginable without differences in rank" (1998: 679).

stream of consciousness

The continuous flow of sense-perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind; or a literary method of representing such a blending of mental processes in fictional characters, usually in an unpunctuated or disjointed form of interior monologue. [from: Baldick, 1990] [Extended]

structure

structuring absence

structuralism

One of the most important theoretical 'movements' in the 20th century, based to a large extent on the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure. There are myriad attempts to provide summaries of Saussure's basic ideas and of the principles of structuralist semiology/semiotics, a few of the better ones are provided here, grouped in terms of their particular point of view: cinema studies;

studio system

style

In literature, any specific way of using language, which is characteristic of an author, school, period, or genre.

subject

The term subject denotes a fundamental human mental activity of interacting with things in the world by opposing them to one's own consciousness, as in the philosophical (epistemological) distinction between subject and object. [from: Rosen, 1986] [Extended]

subject/object

subject positioning

The study of "the position of the subject," or "subject positioning," in cinema asks: how do dominant cinematic strategies strive to position the audience, or the spectators as subjects, and what are the possibilities for contesting this positioning? This line of inquiry proved to be one of the strongest and most fertile in recent film theory. (from Rosen 1986; see also: enunciation)

subjective camera

subjectivity

sublation

Transl. of Hegel's term Aufhebung, which

sublimation

sublime

substance

(Philos.) That which exists by itself and in which accidents or attributes inhere; the essential part of a thing; essence. [Extended]

superimposition

superstructure

see: the base

surrealism

suture

This term means, literally, to stitch up (from the medieval term for stitching up a cut or wound). In film theory suture has come to mean, in its simplest sense, the means by which the spectator is "stitched" into the filmic text. [Extended]

symbol

A sign, object, or act that stands for something other than itself, by virtue of agreement among the members of the culture that uses it. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994]

symbolic interactionism

An approach to social relations that emphasizes the importance of negotiated meanings associated with symbols exchanged in interaction between the self and others. [from: O'Sullivan, 1994]

symbolic order / the symbolic

An expression used in semiotics to designate the social order as a symbolic arena into which human beings are initiated and in which they are destined to act. Through socialization the symbolic order becomes an internalized dimension of an individuals' subjectivity. The most important institutions making up this social order are language, morality, law, and religion. [from: Colapietro, 1993]

Symbolist movement

symbolization

synchronous sound

Sound whose source is visible in the frame of the image or whose source is understandable from the context of the image.

syntagmatic

(see: paradigmatic)

syntagmatic types

syntax

The way in which words and clauses are ordered and connected so as to form sentences; or the set of grammatical rules governing such word-order. [from: Baldick, 1990]

system

systems theory

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take

In filmmaking, the shot produced by one uninterrupted run of the camera. A filmmaker shoots one or more takes of each shot or setup. One shot in the final film may be chosen from among several takes of the same action.

taste

temporality

A central concept in Heidegger's analysis of Dasein, or human 'being-in-the-world,' developed in his magnum opus, Being and Time (1927). "We must show that time is that from which Dasein tacitly understands and interprets something like being at all. Time must be brought to light and genuinely grasped as the horizon of every understanding and interpretation of being. For this to become clear we need an original explication of time as the horizon of the understanding of being, in terms of temporality as the being of Dasein which understands being" (BT, 17).

text

One of the 'big' terms in contemporary theory and criticism that is often used in a very broad sense to cover not only written documents, but any kind of meaning-bearing and discernible forms within any kind of medium. One speaks of paintings, photographs, films, or advertisements as texts that can be read and one might encounter readings of a face, or a city, as texts.

popular texts

textuality

theatre of cruelty

theatre of the absurd

theism

theme

theodicy

The justification of God [theo + Greek, dike = justice]. Within a Christian cultural context, the philosophical attempt to vindicate the goodness and omnipotence of God in respect to the existence of evil. [Extended]

third-person narrative

three-point lighting

A common arrangement using three directions of light on a scene: from behind the subjects (backlighting), from one bright source (key light), and from a less bright source balancing the key light (fill light).

tilt shot

The camera tilts up or down, rotating around the axis that runs from left to right through the camera head.

top lighting

In a film the lighting coming from above a person or object, usually in order to outline the upper areas of the figure or to separate it more clearly from the background.

tracking shot (also called "travelling shot")

Any shot in which the camera moves from one point to another either sideways, in, or out. The camera can be mounted on a set of wheels that move on tracks, or on a rubber-tired dolly, or it can be hand-held.

transcendental

transcendental subject; transcendental gaze;

transference

transgression

The act of transgressing, breaking, or violating a moral code; going beyond the limits imposed by a law or social norm; in Christian parlance 'to sin'. These negative, moralizing ascriptions have been appropriated and reversed within contemporary criticism and politics in the promotion of transgressive texts, ways of reading, or cultural activities that intend to expose and disrupt dominant ideologies and repressive norms.

transparency

//"The narration is to be held on the narrated, the enunciation on the enounced; filmic procedures are to be held as narrative instances (very much as "cues"), exhaustively, without gap or contradiction. What is sometimes vaguely referred to as "transparency" has its meaning in this narrativization: the proposal of a discourse that disavows its operations and positions in the name of a signified that it proposes as its preexistent justification. "Transparency," moreover, is entirely misleading insofar as it implies that narrativization has necessarily to do with some simple "invisibility" (anyway impossible—no one has yet seen a signified without a signifier). The narration may well be given as visible in its filmic procedures; what is crucial is that it be given as visible for the narrated and that the spectator be caught up in the play of that process, that the address of the film be clear." from Heath, "Narrative Space."//

Treaty of Versailles

trick shot

trivium

Troeltsch, Ernst

Tucholsky

typology

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- U -

uncanny, the uncanny

Mysterious, frightening, as by superstitious dread. An important concept for the analysis of narrative genres such as horror, science fiction, and gothic. [Extended; Freud's understanding of]

unconscious (the unconscious)

In its broadest sense the term indicates that not all psychic phenomena are reducible to consciousness, but that our psychic life is filled with effective, but unconscious content, which constitutes a distinct system with its own order, mechanisms, and energies. [Extended]

underlighting

In a film the illumination from a point below the figures in the scene.

understanding

the unsaid

utopia

utterance

(see also: enunciation)

(empty)
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- V -

value

//aesthetic value: //value systems: //exchange value: //use value:

Vertov

völkisch

voyeur, voyeurism

A person or role who has a privileged view from a hidden or secret location. [Extended]

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- W -

war guilt clause

Weltanschauung

German, lit. a way of looking at the world; usually understood as a comprehensive conception of 'reality,' 'being,' or 'existence.'

whip pan

An extremely fast movement of the camera from side to side, which causes the image to blur.

Wilson, Woodrow

wipe

A transition between shots in which a line passes acrss the scren, eliminating the first shot as it goes and replacing it with the next one.

world

world history

(Collins 1998) [world history timeline to 1591]

World War I

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- X -

(empty)
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- Y -

(empty)
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zoom

A shot using a lens whose focal length is adjusted during the shot. The focal lengths of which the lens is capable range from wide angle to telephoto.

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- # -

30-degree rule

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Revised: October 27, 2001.
Copyright © 1999 by Constantin Behler