D.N. Rodowick offers a critical analysis of the development of film theory since 1968. He shows how debates concerning the literary principles of modernism—semiotics, structuralism, psychoanalysis, Marxism, and feminism—have transformed our understanding of cinematic meaning. Rodowick explores the literary paradigms established in France during the late 1960s and traces their influence on the work of diverse filmmaker/theorists including Jean-Luc Godard, Peter Gidal, Laura Mulvey, and Peter Wollen. By exploring the "new French feminisms" of Irigaray and Kristeva, he investigates the relation of political modernism to psychoanalysis and theories of sexual difference. In a new introduction written especially for this edition, Rodowick considers the continuing legacy of this theoretical tradition in relation to the emergence of cultural studies approaches to film.
D.N. Rodowick is Professor of English and Visual/Cultural Studies, and Director of the Film Studies Program, at the University of Rochester. His books include The Difficulty of Difference: Psychoanalysis, Sexual Difference and Film Theory (1991).
"Gives a superb critical and polemical overview of the '70s film theory. Rodowick is particularly good at showing both the political stakes of these influential theories and their blind spots."—Constance Penley, University of California, Santa Barbara