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Breaking the Glass Armor - Kristin Thompson

Breaking the Glass Armor

Paperback Published: 21st August 1988
ISBN: 9780691014531
Number Of Pages: 376

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"Classical works have for us become covered with the glassy armor of familiarity," wrote Victor Shklovsky in 1914. Here Kristin Thompson "defamiliarizes" the reader with eleven different films. Developing the technique formulated in her Eisenstein's Ivan the Terrible (Princeton, 1981), she clearly demonstrates the flexibility of the neoformalist approach. She argues that critics often use cut-and-dried methods and choose films that easily fit those methods. Neoformalism, on the other hand, encourages the critic to deal with each film differently and to modify his or her analytical assumptions continually.

Thompson's analyses are thus refreshingly varied and revealing, ranging from an ordinary Hollywood film, Terror by Night, to such masterpieces as Late Spring and Lancelot du Lac. She proposes a formal historical way of dealing with realism, using Bicycle Thieves and The Rules of the Game as examples. Stage Fright and Laura provide cases in which the classical cinema defamiliarizes its own conventions by playing with audience expectations. Other chapters deal with Tati's Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulot and Play Time and Godard's Tout va bien and Sauve qui peut (la vie).

Although neoformalist analysis is a rigorous, distinctive approach, it avoids extensive specialized vocabulary and esoteric concepts: the essays here can be read separately by those interested in the individual films. The book's overall purpose, however, goes beyond making these particular films more accessible and intriguing to propose new ways of looking at cinema as a whole.

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
A Neoformalist Approach to Film Analysisp. 1
Neoformalist Film Analysis: One Approach, Many Methodsp. 3
The Ordinary Filmp. 47
"No, Lestrade, in This Case Nothing Was Left to Chance": Motivation and Delay in Terror By Nightp. 49
Analyzing the Dominantp. 87
Boredom on the Beach: Triviality and Humor in Les Vacances de Monsieur Hulotp. 89
Sawing Through the Bough: Tout va bien as a Brechtian Filmp. 110
Defamiliarization within the Classical Cinemap. 133
Duplicitous Narration and Stage Frightp. 135
Closure within a Dream? Point of View in Laurap. 162
A Formal Look at Realismp. 195
Realism in the Cinema: Bicycle Thievesp. 197
An Aesthetic of Discrepancy: The Rules of the Gamep. 218
The Perceptual Challenges of Parametric Formp. 245
Play Time: Comedy on the Edge of Perceptionp. 247
Godard's Unknown Country: Sauve qui peut (la vie)p. 263
The Sheen of Armor, the Whinnies of Horses: Sparse Parametric Style in Lancelot du Lacp. 289
Late Spring and Ozu's Unreasonable Stylep. 317
Indexp. 353
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691014531
ISBN-10: 0691014531
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 376
Published: 21st August 1988
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.51  x 2.54
Weight (kg): 0.63