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Croatian film

Contemporary theory in translation

Film Form: an Argument for a Functional Theory of Style in Individual Film

Considering various usages of the term ’film style’ of film form the author focuses on the search for a methodological framework for consideration of style in individual films. The analysis of style of individual films, states Carroll, cannot be reduced to the analysis of the style of the period, movement style or the ’school’ that the film belongs to since there are few films, if any, that are clear representatives of their time, movement or school. Each film faces its own problems in achieving its point or goal.

Each of them has its distinctive formal solutions and none of them is a perfect example of the style of its time, movement, or school in the sense that it is highly improbable that every movie uses all the strategies of the group it belongs to. Likewise, the analysis of style cannot be reduced to the analysis of the personal style of film’s director (the author’s approach) because there are few movies that are absolute products of their author’s personal strategy. That is why the concept of style or form in individual film cannot be avoided.

Instead of formal/contextual interpretation that defines film form of individual film through the opposition between form and content of a film Carroll suggests a functional approach. Functional view of film form in any given film is dynamic because it links form with the strength of the motive — film’s point and goals — which explains the constellation of formal choices in a given film.

Noël Carroll

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