Introduction to Special Issue: Film Objects



Ezra E & Wheatley C (2023) Introduction to Special Issue: Film Objects. Film-Philosophy, 27 (1), pp. 1-6.;

From the earliest days of film theory to the present, scholars of the moving image have made the claim that cinema is a medium that is particularly well suited to show us things. On film, all matter is ontologically equal – as Paul Willemen puts it, even the lustiest of genres, pornography, becomes overwhelmed by stuff when translated to screen: a literary fantasy can proceed very well, he says, without having to specify the pattern on the wallpaper; a filmic fantasy cannot (Willemen, 1992, p.179). In occupying filmic space, objects are a key component of mise-en-scène, but they also have a narrative function, and often carry symbolic or affective weight. Objects can be portable, like a glove or a rice cooker, or they can be part of the fabric of a place, like doors or floor tiles. Objects can also contain their own kinetic energy, whether self-propelling or animated by other forces such as electricity or wind. As with painted portraiture, objects in films can tell us about the socio-economic milieu of the characters, the era in which they live, and even the personalities or indeed obsessions of the people with whom they are associated.

film, objects

This is the introduction to a special issue of Film-Philosophy on Film Objects, edited by Elizabeth Ezra and Catherine Wheatley

Publication date01/02/2023
Publication date online01/02/2023
Date accepted by journal01/05/2022
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Professor Elizabeth Ezra

Professor Elizabeth Ezra

Professor of Cinema and Culture, French