Monday, September 22, 2008

Welch, Mark. "Review of Noel Carroll's THE PHILOSOPHY OF MOTION PICTURES." MOR April 29, 2008.

Carroll, Noel. The Philosophy of Motion Pictures. Oxford: Blackwell, 2008. Any art form needs a philosophy; something that can begin to articulate its nature and value in representing and understanding our world. Hopefully, through the publication of this scholarly, detailed and thoroughly-argued book Carroll will finally put to rest the debate about whether or not films (aka motion pictures or moving images) can be seen as works of art. He makes the case persuasively that they can, and in the process exposes the limitations and narrowness of view of the opposing argument. Although the eponymous term moving pictures is not Carroll's preferred label (he would rather talk about the moving image and therefore it is a bit of a puzzle why he titled the book as he did) he does not waste undue time in making arcane arguments about whether we should be talking about films or cinema or whatever. We all pretty much know what we mean and we know what we sitting down to watch. Film-makers create and present a point of view that while it may be recorded is nevertheless created and imbued with choice. So, Carroll begins a careful and scholarly examination of the history of the philosophy of film, beginning with Munsterberg's 1916 exposition of what he called photoplays, through the traditional theorists such as Arnheim, Eisenstein, Bazin and Kracauer among others, to the period cultural studies to his own preferred and simplified position in which a pluralistic approach is applied and a functional definition is more important than any specificity of medium (that is to say, videotape, podcasting, CGI and new media can all be considered under the rubric of the moving image). . . . Read the rest here:

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