Film Studies is an academic discipline focused on the critical appreciation of cinema as an art form as well as its role in, and impact on, culture and society. Some cinema theorists argue that its primary purpose is to understand how best to look at films and understand their meaning. The discipline forms part of the larger subject areas of media studies and cultural studies. The discipline is relatively new, its origins as a systematic body of thought dating back to the latter half of the twentieth century.
The field of study is comparatively new one dating back only a handful of decades to the latter part of last century. The explosive growth of movies and their powerful influence on pop culture has been a major factor driving interest in the subject. That interest has given birth to a large range of peer-reviewed, academic journals such as Cinema Journal, Journal of Film and Video plus the British journal Screen.
Academic cinema journals have introduced many important concepts in film theory over the years. For example, prominent cinema theorist and British academic Laura Mulvey (1941-stillliving) published her famous 1975 article titled Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema in Screen. That influential article adopted a Freudian psychoanalytic analysis of the portrayal of women in cinema. It is one of the earliest articles to combine cinema theory, psychoanalysis and feminism and remains widely read today.
Given the dominance of Hollywood movie commercialism in shaping popular culture, the strong influence of European and other countries on movie production and theory may surprise many people. For example, the Moscow Film School established in 1919 was the first school focused on cinema anywhere in the world.
Similarly, the first dedicated cinema theorist and critic was Andre Bazin (1918-1958), a Frenchman born in the provincial town of Angers located south west of Paris. He began writing on cinema during the World War II in 1943, when he was 25 years of age. He subsequently co-founded the influential magazine Cahiers du cinema in 1951 with two other colleagues, Lo Duca and Doniol-Valcroze.
Perhaps the most controversial of all of the views of Bazin on cinema was his support for appreciative criticism alone. He believed that only critics that liked a movie had a legitimate basis to review and assess it. Clearly this is a restrictive stance. It is also an extreme view all the more so since Bazin was himself a prominent critic.
These two volumes quickly became key texts among English-speaking cinema theorist. However, because Bazin was deceased, strict copyright laws inhibited updates and revisions. By the 1980s and 1990s, their their ongoing currency waned. In 2009, a small but specialist Canadian publisher of books on cinema, named Caboose, spotted an opportunity to take advantage of the relatively favorable copyright laws prevailing in Canada. Caboose arranged for new translations and annotations for the most important essays to be prepared by Timothy Barnard.
Bazin argued that the best objective for films was to attempt to present an objective reality. He therefore favored documentaries and films in the style of Italian neorealism. From a technical perspective he argued that directors should seek to make themselves invisible; advocated the use of deep focus or large depth of field (favored, for example by Orson Welles) and wide shots (Jean Renoir). Bazin also supported lack of montage, that is, extended continuity through mise en scene rather than montage editing and special effects. All of these Bazin viewpoints are challenged by the modern film studies community. Bazin is nevertheless celebrated as having been an original thinker in his time.
Tarintino had to start somewhere. Film school can open the door to a lucrative and enjoyable career. The industry requires hard work and long hours so get started at a Canadian Art Institute. If film does not interest you then try taking web design courses or photography courses.