Linguistic film theory

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Linguistic film theory[1] is a form of film theory that studies the aesthetics of films by investigating the concepts and practices that comprise the experience and interpretation of movies.


Linguistic film theory was proposed by Stanley Cavell[1] and it is based on the philosophical tradition begun by late Ludwig Wittgenstein. The theory itself is said to mirror aspects of the activity of Wittgenstein's own philosophising (e.g. Wittgenstein's thought experiments) as films are viewed capable of engaging the audience in a therapeutic process of 'dialogue' and even investigate the absurd and the limits of thought.[2] Cavell's framework is seen as a distinctive way of approaching film and philosophy since question of style - the finding of words adequate to our aesthetic experience - is central to the understanding of the meaning of films.[3] One of his ideas involved the position that "if one thinks of a grammar as a machine for generating sentences, then perhaps one will wish to speak of the camera and its film as a machine for generating idioms."[4]

Critics from this tradition often clarify misconceptions used in theoretical film studies[5][6] and instead produce analysis of a film's vocabulary and its link to a form of life.

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  1. ^ a b The Dualist Vols. 1–6, Department of Philosophy, Stanford University, 1994, p. 56.
  2. ^ Read, Rupert; Goodenough, Jerry (2005). Film as Philosophy: Essays in Cinema after Wittgenstein and Cavell. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 30. ISBN 9781403997951.
  3. ^ Shaw, Daniel (2017). "Stanley Cavell on the Magic of the Movies". Film-Philosophy. 21 (1): 114–132. doi:10.3366/film.2017.0034. ISSN 1466-4615.
  4. ^ Cavell, Stanley (1979). The World Viewed: Reflections on the Ontology of Film. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. pp. 204. ISBN 067496196X.
  5. ^ David Bordwell; Noël Carroll, eds. (1996). Post-Theory: Reconstructing Film Studies. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 109.
  6. ^ Annette Kuhn and Guy Westwell (2012). "Post-theory" in A Dictionary of Film Studies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


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