The reality of film

Theories of filmic reality

By Richard Rushton

The reality of film


  • Paperback
  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8268-9
  • Pages: 232
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £80.00
  • Published Date: November 2010
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Films, cinema, Film history, theory & criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Film theory & criticism


In formulating a notion of filmic reality, The Reality of Film offers a novel way of understanding our relationship to cinema. It argues that cinema need not be understood in terms of its capacities to refer to, reproduce or represent reality, but should be understood in terms of the kinds of realities it has the ability to create.

The Reality of Film investigates filmic reality by way of six key film theorists: André Bazin, Christian Metz, Stanley Cavell, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Zizek and Jacques Rancière. In doing so, it provides comprehensive introductions to each of these thinkers, while also debunking many myths and misconceptions about them. Along the way, a notion of filmic reality is formed that radically reconfigures our understanding of cinema.

This book is essential reading for film scholars, students and philosophers of film, while it will also appeal to graduate students and specialists in other fields.


... a lucid and careful intervention through the seemingly well-worn but under-scrutinized reality and film debate.

Insisting on cinema's activity, namely its ability to produce beyond its oftlauded mimetic qualities, has arguably never been more relevant.

Many readers will find the strength of The Reality of Film is its accessability.

... argument powerfully convincing and plausible.

... Rushton strives to confront political modernism's confines.

Its impetus and moral is to always (re)consider films anew and to commit to the wonder and awe that cinema can initiate, an affect, we would be wise to remember, mobilized by human imagination. In so doing, Rushton reminds the reader of the work left to be done in film studies, of the new avenues of inquiry wrenched open when cinema's questions are stirred and its potential awoken, its examination incomplete.

'This book is a must-read for those who enjoy both film theory as well as social sciences, as Rushton skilfully balances the two subjects, and it's an interesting read for all film scholars as it provides a fresh perspective into a subject that has been examined by many before him.'
Rachel Wassii, Film Matters 7.2 (2016)


List of illustrations
Introduction: On the reality of film
1. Beyond political modernism
2. Realism, reality and authenticity
3. The imaginary as filmic reality
4. A reality beyond imagining
5. Cinema produces reality
6. Filmic reality and ideological fantasy
7. Filmic reality and the aesthetic regime


Richard Rushton is Lecturer in Film and Cultural Studies at Lancaster University

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