Jan Mukarovský and Structuralist Film Theory in Context of Film Tradition
The study briefly explains the philosophical and essentialist approach as the main feature of the classical film theory which seeks to locate the essence of the film as a medium. Some theoreticians emphasized the uniqueness of the film while others tried to explain it by pointing out elements of older art forms in the film. Classical formalist film theoreticians thought that most esthetically relevant film features lie in its capability of extreme reality manipulation, for example by editing. On the other hand, reality-oriented classical theoreticians accepted precisely what formalists dismiss (Arnheim and Bazin, of course, represent these two opposing tendencies). Russian formalists (Eichenbaum, Tynianov, Jakobson) also take the formalist, and even ”pre-structuralist” approach to syntactic and semantic aspects of film language, and this study compares their analysis with the later work of the Prague structuralist Mukarovský. Similarity between them can be more easily understood if you are more familiar with the life and theory of Roman Jakobson. The author of this study completes the examples from quoted texts with his own examples from the period of the classical Hollywood (Imitation of Life by Douglas Sirk) and the classical European film. However, the most important part of the study is the analysis of less familiar essays by Jan Mukarovský which can easily be applied to the film analysis as well.