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Best Film Theory Books You Must Read

Below I’ll give you my selections for the best Film Theory books by a few categories. I will cover these and other great books more in depth later.

1. Understanding Film Theory (2017)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadThis essential core textbook provides an approachable and extensive introduction to film theory, written by two highly experienced senior lecturers. Bringing a fresh, contemporary and accessible approach to what is often perceived to be a challenging and old-fashioned area of film studies that requires time and effort to grasp, the text illustrates why theory is important and demonstrates how it can be applied in a meaningful way. The book’s sixteen chapters are clear and comprehensive and provide an insight into the main areas of debate, using clear definitions and explaining complex ideas succinctly. The ideal…
Author(s): Ruth Doughty, Christine Etherington-Wright

2. Film Studies: An Introduction (Film and Culture Series) (2009)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadEd Sikov builds a step-by-step curriculum for the appreciation of all types of narrative cinema, detailing the essential elements of film form and systematically training the spectator to be an active reader and critic. Sikov primes the eye and mind in the special techniques of film analysis. His description of mise-en-scene helps readers grasp the significance of montage, which in turn reveals the importance of a director’s use of camera movement. He treats a number of fundamental factors in filmmaking, including editing, composition, lighting, the use of color and sound, and narrative. Film Studies…
Author(s): Ed Sikov

3. Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings (2016)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadSince publication of the first edition in 1974, Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen’s Film Theory and Criticism has been the most widely used and cited anthology of critical writings about film. Now in its eighth edition, this landmark text continues to offer outstanding coverage of more than a century of thought and writing about the movies. Incorporating classic texts by pioneers in film theory and cutting-edge essays by contemporary scholars, the text examines both historical and theoretical viewpoints on the subject.Building upon the wide range of selections and the extensive…
Author(s): Leo Braudy, Marshall Cohen

4. Film Theory (2015)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadWhat is the relationship between cinema and spectator? This is the key question for film theory, and one that Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener put at the center of their insightful and engaging book, now revised from its popular first edition. Every kind of cinema (and every film theory) first imagines an ideal spectator, and then maps certain dynamic interactions between the screen and the spectator’s mind, body and senses. Using seven distinctive configurations of spectator and screen that move progressively from ‘exterior’ to ‘interior’ relationships, the authors retrace the most…
Author(s): Thomas Elsaesser, Malte Hagener

5. Critical Visions in Film Theory (2010)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadEmbracing groundbreaking approaches without ignoring the history of classical film theory, Critical Visions in Film Theory encompasses the broader, more inclusive perspective of film theory today, focusing on topics such as race, gender and sexuality, and new media….
Author(s): Timothy Corrigan , Patricia White , et al.

6. Literature into Film: Theory And Practical Approaches (2006)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadFor most people, film adaptation of literature can be summed up in one sentence: "The movie wasn’t as good as the book." This volume undertakes to show the reader that not only is this evaluation not always true but sometimes it is intrinsically unfair. Movies based on literary works, while often billed as adaptations, are more correctly termed translations. A director and his actors translate the story from the written page into a visual presentation. Depending on the form of the original text and the chosen method of translation, certain inherent difficulties and…
Author(s): Linda Costanzo Cahir, James M. Welsh

7. Film Theory: The Basics (2016)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadFilm Theory: The Basics provides an accessible introduction to the key theorists, concepts, and debates that have shaped the study of moving images. It examines film theory from its emergence in the early twentieth century to its study in the present day, and explores why film has drawn special attention as a medium, as a form of representation, and as a focal point in the rise of modern visual culture. The book emphasizes how film theory has developed as a historically contingent discourse, one that has evolved and changed in conjunction with different social,…
Author(s): Kevin McDonald

8. Film Theory: An Introduction (2000)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadProviding a collection of some of the most provocative and influential writings of film theory in the past thirty years, this anthology aims to provide a polylogue among theorists, deprovincializing the subject. Film Theory multiplies the perspectives and positions, the situations and locations, from which film theory is spoken….
Author(s): Robert Stam

9. Film Theory and Criticism (2009)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadSince publication of the first edition in 1974, Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen’s Film Theory and Criticism has been the most widely used and cited anthology of critical writings about film. Now in its seventh edition, this landmark text continues to offer outstanding coverage of more than a century of thought and writing about the movies. Incorporating classic texts by pioneers in film theory–including Rudolf Arnheim, Siegfried Kracauer, and André Bazin–and cutting-edge essays by such contemporary scholars as David Bordwell, Tania Modleski, Thomas Schatz, and Richard Dyer,…
Author(s): Leo Braudy, Marshall Cohen

10. Film Theory Reader: Debates & Arguments (2010)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must Read“An excellent collection of provocative and compelling debates, expertly and elegantly arranged. Essays new and old form a dynamic and accessible portrait of ideas foundational to contemporary thinking about film. This book is sure to inspire.” Haidee Wasson, Concordia University, Montreal “Marc Furstenau retraces the most important issues in film theory, and makes them interact with the current debate on cinema and post-cinema. A historical legacy becomes a living source – and the site of a passionate debate.” Francesco Casetti, Catholic…
Author(s): Marc Furstenau

11. Theory of Film (1997)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadSiegfried Kracauer’s classic study, originally published in 1960, explores the distinctive qualities of the cinematic medium. The book takes its place alongside works in classical film theory by such figures as Béla Balázs, Rudolf Arnheim, and André Bazin, among others, and has met with much critical dispute. In this new edition, Miriam Bratu Hansen, examining the book in the context of Kracauer’s extensive film criticism from the 1920s, provides a framework for appreciating the significance of Theory of Film for contemporary film theory….
Author(s): Siegfried Kracauer, Miriam Bratu Hansen

12. The Major Film Theories: An Introduction (Galaxy Books) (1976)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadBoth a history of film theory and an introduction to the work of the most important writers in the field, Andrew’s volume reveals the bases of thought of such major theorists as Munsterberg, Arnheim, Eisenstein, Balazs, Kracauer, Bazin, Mitry, and Metz….
Author(s): J. Dudley Andrew

13. Film and Television Analysis: An Introduction to Methods, Theories, and Approaches (2015)

 Best Film Theory Books You Must ReadFilm and Television Analysis is especially designed to introduce undergraduate students to the most important qualitative methodologies used to study film and television. The methodologies covered include: With each chapter focusing on a distinct methodology, students are introduced to the historical developments of each approach, along with its vocabulary, significant scholars, key concepts and case studies. Other features include: Written in a reader-friendly manner Film and Television Analysis is a vital textbook for students encountering these…
Author(s): Harry Benshoff

Best Film Theory Books You Must Read

We highly recommend you to buy all paper or e-books in a legal way, for example, on Amazon. But sometimes it might be a need to dig deeper beyond the shiny book cover. Before making a purchase, you can visit resources like Genesis and download some film theory books mentioned below at your own risk. Once again, we do not host any illegal or copyrighted files, but simply give our visitors a choice and hope they will make a wise decision.

Physics of Magnetic Thin Films: Theory and Simulation

Author(s): Hung T. Diep
ID: 2912558, Publisher: , Year: 2021, Size: 11 Mb, Format: pdf

Actor-Network Theory At The Movies: Reassembling The Contemporary American Teen Film With Latour

Author(s): Björn Sonnenberg-Schrank
ID: 2465928, Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan, Year: 2020, Size: 5 Mb, Format: pdf

Knots : Post-Lacanian Psychoanalysis, Literature and Film

Author(s): Jean-Michel Rabaté
ID: 2547127, Publisher: Routledge, Year: 2020, Size: 3 Mb, Format: pdf

Please note that this booklist is not errorless. Some books are truly best-sellers according to Chicago Tribune, others are drafted by unknown writers. On top of that, you can always find additional tutorials and courses on Coursera, Udemy or edX, for example. Are there any other relevant books you could recommend? Leave a comment if you have any feedback on the list.

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