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Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema
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13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on March 23, 2000
This book is a collection of essays that Metz wrote regarding the semiotics of film. It uses semiotical terms that may be unfamiliar to many readers, but its worth the effort, for one will find some very interesting insights into the nature of film as a signifier. Especially interesting segments regarding the semiotics of the traditional Hollywood film.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2005
Christian Metz's essays on film language are a milestone in semiotics and film analysis. If his terminology may be slightly hard to grasp immediately, it is because he is seeking clear and rigorously defined concepts, strongly grounded both in film practice and in structural linguistics. While structural lingusitics may no longer be a major reference in current intellectual discourse, Metz's book is indeed still extremely useful in understanding some key concepts of film, such as the "pro-filmic": what does an object become when it is standing in front of the camera? Abundant examples from French and American film generously help the reader (and it would be time to reprint and redistribute "Adieu, Philippine", which Metz thoroughly analyzes).
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on July 22, 2015
Prof. Metz was all the rage among the new field of cinema studies, trying to find its core percepts in the 1970s. This book was required reading for aspiring cinema Ph.D.s and "semiotics" the area de jure of several newer fields of popular entertainment studies. The book seeks to elucidate the underlying basic meaningful units of the way the cinema means; that is, to find and exemplify the cinema equivalents of basic units in language. It was riding the highest on the early guess that the cinema must be like language. Despite the considerable effort, Metz did not discover these minimal meaningful units of cinema, and thus this book is one rather large "proof of a negative" either on purpose or by the way it comes out.
The book moves a long way to proving that the cinema has no discoverable unified field theory on the "linguistic level." That effort by many cinema scholars during that hot decade came to the same negative. Sadly, it analyzes a film that was generally unavailable then and now.*

Today in 2015, this book is much more of an important piece of the history of the process of seeking a unified theory of the cinema because it shows how much effort went into looking for the E=MC2 of the cinema and how little came of the search. Cinema studies moved on to gender studies, simple psychoanalyzing of films, and to continue the genre approach, the latter showing itself as the most useful analytic tool (which handily dovetailed with a good historiographical method for the understanding of the cinema).

*Several careers in cinema scholarship during that decade were built on a close analysis of films that no one could find to see.
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on December 1, 2014
good and classic
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2007
As a Ph.D. student in the field of new literacy studies, I have found Metz's book an invaluable aid. He provides theoretically grounded concepts that translate film components into "language".
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A must know for anyone who works in the memdia biz. America lags way behind Europe in understanding the science of semiotics. This could lead to a more sane society.
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1 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on January 30, 2008
this book is buy for my sister, she have great interest in movie, me too.
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