Film theory refers to the significant philosophical thought concerning film as an art form, an experience, and an ideological construct. As such, it can be distinguished from film criticism, which encompasses the analysis of a film or body of films, usually from an evaluative or hermeneutical (i.e., interpretative) perspective. However, the concepts of film theory often provide the premises upon which the analyses of film criticism are based. Although aesthetics (the branch of philosophy devoted to art) form a part of film theory, its concerns are primarily ontological and to an extent, epistemological. To put it more simply, the goal of film criticism is to determine meaning in or assign value to a specific film or cinematic corpus (e.g., the films of John Ford, musical comedies, the French New Wave); the objective of film theory is to answer the question (which serves as the title of one of the most influential works of theory), what is cinema (Qu’est-ce que le cinéma?). Not surprisingly, the proposed answers to this question have changed over time. The following will provide a historical overview of the developments in film theory from the early 20th century to the present.

Littlejohn, Stephen W and Karen A.Floss. (2009). Encyclopedia of Communication Theory.USA:SAGE.469

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Gayes Mahestu
Edwina Ayu Kustiawan