Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Film Theory and Philosophy$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Richard Allen and Murray Smith

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198159216

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198159216.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.oxfordscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 29 May 2020

Looking at Motion Pictures

Looking at Motion Pictures

(p.76) 3 Looking at Motion Pictures
Film Theory and Philosophy

Richard Allen

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the central question, ‘What do you see when you look at a motion picture?’. The answer depends on the understanding of the activity itself. The philosophical understanding of what seeing is has been dominated by casual theories of perception. When seeing is conceived in a certain way, pictorial perception generates a paradox. There are four kinds of theories in perceiving motion pictures: illusion, transparency, imagination, and recognition. Illusion theories were highly influential in the film theories during the 1970s and early 1980s. It sought to explain the special power of movies to shape the imagination while transparency theories were associated with the realist tradition of film theory. Transparency theorists claim that the unique properties of the photographic image allow us to see the object when we look at a motion picture. Imagination and recognition theories use the cognitive approach to understanding the motion picture.

Keywords:   motion picture, theories of perception, illusion theories, transparency theories, imagination theories, recognition theories, cognitive approach

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .