Film Art: An Introduction

Film is an art form with a language and an aesthetic all its own. Since 1979, David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson’s “Film Art” has
been the best-selling and widely respected introduction to the analysis of cinema. Taking a skills-centered approach supported by a wide range of examples from various periods and countries, the authors strive to help students develop a core set of analytical skills that will deepen their understanding of any film, in any genre. Frame enlargements throughout the text enable students to
view images taken directly from completed films, while an optional, text-specific tutorial CD-ROM helps clarify and reinforce specific concepts addressed in the text with the use of film clips. Building on these strengths, the ninth edition adds coverage of new technologies, updated examples, and references to the authors’ acclaimed weblog to provide unparalleled currency and connect students with the world of cinema today.

This book, first published in 1979, was an effort to give undergraduates an orientation to film aesthetics. It offers, the most detailed
outline of the various techniques of the medium. Just as important, and the main reason we wrote the book, it places an emphasis on the film as a whole.

Many film primers don’t go beyond itemizing techniques. We try to show how the whole film is the most pertinent and proximate context for understanding how the techniques work. It isn’t enough just to recognize low angles or a match-on-action; we have to understand what they’re doing in the scene, and the roles they play across the entire movie. The book also introduces some doses of film history, in the belief that all techniques gain their significance in particular historical circumstances.


David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson



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