Structuralist Film Theory

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When we watch a film, we’re often focused on the story, characters, and visuals on screen. But beneath the surface, film theories can provide us with a deeper understanding of the films we love. In this article, we’ll dive into Structuralist Film Theory, and its impact on the way we interpret films.

Structuralism Explained

To comprehend Structuralist Film Theory, it’s essential to grasp the foundation of structuralism as a broader philosophical approach. Structuralism emerged as a way to uncover the underlying structures that govern human thought and cultural phenomena. This theory suggests that meaning doesn’t arise solely from individual elements, but from the relationships these elements share within a larger structure. Essentially, structuralism seeks to decode these hidden structures in order to reveal the fundamental principles that organise various aspects of our world.

Structuralist Film Theory

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Structuralist Film Theory applies these fundamental structuralist principles to the medium of film. It proposes that films are not just linear narratives, but intricate systems of signification where meaning is generated through the relationships among different elements. Here are some key concepts within Structuralist Film Theory:

Binary Oppositions

One of the central ideas of Structuralist Film Theory is the exploration of binary oppositions. These are pairs of contrasting elements such as good vs. evil, light vs. dark, and freedom vs. confinement. These oppositions create tension and meaning within the film, influencing how we interpret characters and themes.

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