Screen theory

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Screen theory is a Marxist-psychoanalytic film theory associated with the British journal Screen in the early 1970s.[1]


The theoreticians of the "Screen theory" approach—Colin MacCabe, Stephen Heath and Laura Mulvey—describe the "cinematic apparatus" as a version of Althusser's ideological state apparatus. 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.

Screen theory's origins can be traced to the essays "Mirror Stage" by Lacan and Miller's "Suture: Elements of the Logic of the Signifier".[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Miklitsch, Robert (2006). "The Suture Scenario: Audiovisuality and Post-Screen Theory". Roll Over Adorno: Critical Theory, Popular Culture, Audiovisual Media. Albany: SUNY. p. 69. ISBN 978-0-7914-6733-6. Retrieved May 16, 2017.
  2. ^ McGowan, Todd (2015). Psychoanalytic Film Theory and The Rules of the Game. New York: Bloomsbury Academic. p. 57. ISBN 9781628920857. Retrieved 11 March 2016.

Further reading[edit]

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