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Film and (as) Modernity
Film and (as) modernity

Perhaps the most characteristic bête noire of 1970s ‘materialist’ film theory was that stalwart stereotype, the ‘classic realist text’ (MacCabe, 1980: 152–62). Though the more astute of the Screen gang were perfectly aware how ‘resistant’ such a film text could be, nevertheless a pervasive supposition of the era was that films constructed along industrial, ‘Hollywood’ lines could not ‘deal with the real as contradictory’, and moreover reinscribed the subject ‘in a relation of dominant specularity’ (MacCabe, 1980: 157). Which was not going quite so far as to say, with Michael Fried, that ‘the cinema is not, even at its most experimental, a modernist art’ (1998: 164); but it was to reserve the noble epithet – ‘modernist’ – only ...

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