Screen theory

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Screen theory is a Marxist film theory associated with the British journal Screen in the 1970s. The theoreticians of this approach -- Colin MacCabe, Stephen Heath and Laura Mulvey -- describe the "cinematic apparatus" as a version of Althusser's Ideological State Apparatus (ISA). According to screen theory, it is the spectacle that creates the spectator and not the other way round. The fact that the subject is created and subjected at the same time by the narrative on screen is masked by the apparent realism of the communicated content.

See also[edit]


  • Heath, Stephen (1981): Questions of Cinema. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
  • MacCabe, Colin (1985): Theoretical Essays: Film, Linguistics, Literature. Manchester: Manchester University Press.