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Film Theory Review.17472126.pdf


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in linear progression” and “become interesting as they mate with other theories” (9). And, Robin
Wood is quick to add that bias will play a role: “so much for the notion of unbiased objective
criticism or interpretation: there is simply no such thing” (233). With all these things mashed
together, I find it far more important to think on the ideas presented through theory than with
whom they are associated.
Firstly, I would like to briefly cover the beginnings of cinema (or film). What was the
setting for its birth? Were there implications to that? How was it styled? Did it follow existing
traditions in art? “The beginning of cinema...coincided precisely with the very height of
imperialism” (19). This did have an impact on what film was made and how. “The most prolific
film-producing countries of the silent period – Britain, France, the USA, Germany – also
happened to be among the leading imperialist countries…the cinema combined narrative and
spectacle to tell the story of colonialism from the colonizer’s perspective” (19). Film was
immediately utilized as a propaganda tool while cloaked in the guise of entertainment. The use of
film in such a manner gave a sense of nationalism to the people it was aimed at and helped to
justify social policies in the name of patriotism. Using film in such a manner can have both
positive and negative results, such as spreading a stereotype or exposing it.
The early age of cinema was marked by “theoretical experimentalism” as it critics shifted
to reflect on a growing “anxiety about the social effects of mass media” (67). According to Stam,
“film theory is an international and multicultural enterprise, yet too often it remains monolingual,
provincial and chauvinistic” (Stam, 4). This gave rise to the belief that a “fiction feature film à la
Hollywood is…the ‘real’ cinema” and was also used in the beginning to define what cinema is
(no matter what nation or person was trying to claim it for their own, it was the same idealism)
(5). Theoretical experimentalism came in a number of forms throughout this period. In

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