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Film as Art

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  232 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
In the fall of 1957 the University of California Press expanded Arnheim’s 1933 book Film by four essays and brought that landmark work back into print as Film as Art. Now nearly fifty years after that re-edition, the book continues to occupy an important place in the literature of film. Arnheim’s method, provocative in this age of technological wizardry, was to focus on th ...more
Paperback, 50th Anniversary Printing, 238 pages
Published March 6th 2006 by University of California Press (first published 1957)
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Mark Barber
Mar 01, 2014 Mark Barber rated it it was ok
Arnheim's anatomical survey of how film form differs perceptually from the then-hegemonic contention that "film is a mechanical reproduction of reality" merits some praise for its counter-hypothesis to realist film theory. Regardless, he makes generalized statements about what constitutes an 'art'. He also relies heavily on assumptions of what the future cinema might entail - this leads him to make false claims about the (lack of) artistic merits of sound film, colour film, 3D film, and other ty ...more
Mark Crouch
Sep 02, 2013 Mark Crouch rated it it was ok

As much as this book likes to think it's relevant today (see opening of book), it's really not. The reason Arnheim wrote this was to disprove claims at the time that film was not art because it was mechanically imitating reality (or something similarly stupid); which today holds no ground and was something I wasn't even familiar with. Not to bring down Arnheim because he does a good job of disproving these claims very thoroughly. I have to gripe at his indictment of the future of cinema and b
Tom Newth
Jul 15, 2015 Tom Newth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
very clear, concise and comprehensive which, despite the occasionally overstated claim and a deep mistrust of colour and sound, makes his explanation of how film works barely less relevant today than it was in the 30s
Feb 11, 2008 David rated it really liked it
Shelves: film
Indispensable reading, though Arnheim doesn't really make the case for film as an art. Rather he assumes it is an art and spends most of his time in the area of medium specificity. He doesn't define art and doesn't adequately refute the claim that film cannot be art because it does nothing but reproduce reality mechanically. Despite these failings, Arnheim is spot on on most every idea relating to medium specificity.
Oct 14, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, graduate
One of the classics of classical film theory, Film as Art outlines Arnheim's rather specific but interesting view on how film mediates reality and how film should use its medium specific limitations to create art. His distinctions between what is just film and what is film art are quite interesting, though I don't agree with the limitations he imposes on sound and color.
Classic early theory of film. Arnheim's approach is anti-realist: It argues that film is art precisely and only to the extent that it is different from reality. He therefore emphasizes the role of uniquely cinematic effects in the creation of film art.
May 17, 2014 B rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the things Arnheim put out may have been outdated, but it is really nice to revisit some of the classic sentiments from the art of film. It actually gives me a fresh perspective, especially if I'm thinking about making a movie myself.
Kevin Lucia
Feb 06, 2012 Kevin Lucia rated it really liked it
Only read assigned chunks of this, but what I did read nudged my perceptions of film. Although older and a little dated, it pushes the casual movie viewers perceptions into directions that change how we view movies in general...
Rebecca Timberlake
I had to read this for a class, and I made it a little over halfway through, but it's so wordy and heavy that it's hard to understand. Not to mention some of the content is more than outdated now.
Jul 29, 2008 Kimberly rated it it was amazing
A poignant and powerful book of film criticism that envisioned the death of cinema.
Franz Schuier
Aug 19, 2013 Franz Schuier rated it really liked it
Great resource and read even today. Made me revisit some gorgeous old film.
Film as Art by Rudolf Arnheim (1957)
Mar 08, 2009 Eli added it
A book for me...
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Rudolf Arnheim (1904–2007) was a German-born author, art and film theorist, and perceptual psychologist. He learned Gestalt psychology from studying under Max Wertheimer and Wolfgang Köhler at the University of Berlin and applied it to art. His magnum opus was his book Art and Visual Perception: A Psychology of the Creative Eye (1954). Other major books by Arnheim have included Visual Thinking (19 ...more
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