TEXTUAL ANALYSIS AND PORTRAITS OF SPECTATORSHIP
DOI link for TEXTUAL ANALYSIS AND PORTRAITS OF SPECTATORSHIP
TEXTUAL ANALYSIS AND PORTRAITS OF SPECTATORSHIP book
Textual analysis is one of the most important theoretical and practical legacies of 1970s film theory. Yet when 1970s film theory is assessed, whether sympathetically or critically (or both), textual analysis is frequently one of the first targets. It is argued that textual analysis relies too exclusively on the formal and technical aspects of the cinema, and therefore gives exclusive signifying authority to a single film and ignores the complex nature of the cinematic institution. Or, by exploring in exhaustive detail the signifying structures of the individual film, textual analysis creates a film text that has only the most remote connection with the ways in which films are actually received (an issue which has not been ignored by practitioners of textual analysis; see Bellour 1975a). Textual analysis is criticized for resurrecting the old dichotomy of text and context, privileging the former and ignoring the latter; for generalizing from very specific examples, and for assuming that if any classical Hollywood film operates in a certain way, then it has to possess a certain degree of typicality, or that a model of classical Hollywood cinema will be demonstrated in any single example one might choose.