The Analysis of Film
The Analysis of Film brings together Raymonds Bellour’s now classic studies of classic Hollywood film. It is at once a book about the methods of close film analysis, the narrative structure of Hollywood film, Hitchcock’s work–The Birds, Marnie, Psycho, North by Northwest–and the role of the woman in western representation. But, finally, it is a book about cinema itself and the love for cinema that drives the passion for analyzing the supreme art form of the twentieth century.
Bellour creatively reworks the ideas and methods of structuralism, semiology, and psychoanalysis to unravel the knot of significations that is the filmic text. The introductory chapter sketches out a history of the way the close analysis of film developed. And then, beginning with a study of the Bodega Bay sequence of The Birds, the book goes on to examine every aspect of that singular critical practice, “the analysis of film.”
The book is also a model of how to write about the intricacies of film narrative, shot by shot, sequence by sequence, while addressing larger contextual issues of subjectivity, desire, and identification in Western cultural forms. A new, final chapter on D. W. Griffith’s The Lonedale Operator brilliantly demonstrates that the dynamics of repetition and alternation that Bellour discovered to be the heartbeat of Hollywood narrative film were already there in nascent form at the beginnings of cinema.