Week One: Film Theory

David Weedle’s article “Lights, Camera, Action. Marxism, Semiotics, Narratology” in the L.A. Times is essentially a fourteen page long rant on his views and opinions on the education his daughter is receiving at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His daughter is a film studies major and consequently is required to take courses in film analysis and theory. From his protests over the long-length of the textbooks to the unclear syntax and terms, Weedle brings up some valid and understandable arguments against his daughter’s coursework. However, while I do see where he is coming from, I still have to disagree with his overall assessment on the subject matter that pertains to film theory.

My opinion on the situation is that I feel his daughter should’ve had an idea of what she was getting herself into. When one first hears the term film theory, I’m sure the immediate associations they come up with are negative ones. If you can get past all of these misconceptions and fears, most of which Weedle successfully points out in the article, the heart of film theory is simply a way of means to explain and interpret various aspects of film in an intellectual and logical way. The very definition of theory being “a system of ideas intended to explain something,” wether is be realism, auteurism, or feminism, these are all plausible topics when it comes to the art of film.

One thing I did find interesting that Weedle brought up was the comparison of film theory to philosophy. I think this is a very good comparison because film theory relies much more on reason than actual fact. With the revolving and never-ending cycle of theories and concepts being formulated in the discipline at any given time, opinions and views can always change. Moreso, there can be more than one answer or explanation to any particular theory, and this is what makes the study of film theory so intriguing in my eyes.



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