The notion of cinema as an institution is central both to spectatorship as defined in 1970s film theory and to more recent reformulations. In order to contextualize this discussion of spectatorship, it is important to understand what is meant by the idea of cinema as an “institution” and what it means to define the cinematic spectator as part of this institution. Two enormously influential works, both published in 1970 in France (and in English translation shortly thereafter), established a frame of reference for questions of the subject, representation, and discourse which would be taken up by film theorists in their exploration of cinema as an institution. Louis Althusser’s essay “Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Toward an Investigation)” contains many of the assumptions about the nature of ideological representation which would be applied to film, while Roland Barthes’s S/Z, a detailed reading of the novella Sarrasine by Honoré de Balzac, was perhaps the most influential single work to define the scope of textual analysis in 1970s film theory, that is, analysis of both the structures of film representation and of what exceeds, problematizes, or otherwise puts those structures into question.