Title The Arts of Cinema
Author Martin Seel
ISBN 9781501726170
List price GBP 14.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 180
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Cornell University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
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“In his tremendously stimulating aesthetics of cinema, Martin Seel writes that films absorb the presence of the spectator more than all other works of art.... One of the merits of his book is that it is informed by a wide spectrum of film history, from the Marx Brothers to Fassbinder.”

—Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung


“In his stimulating volume, the philosopher Seel looks for the essence and especially the particularity of the cinema, tracing the roots of cinema in other arts. According to Seel, film takes up elements from all of these arts and realizes its unique potential. Films like Hitchcock’s North by Northwest or Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point explode the boundaries of space and draw all of the spectator’s senses into it.”

—Deutschlandfunk [German Public Radio]


“An exciting work of ‘philosophy meets cinema’—intellectually sophisticated but written in a rich, playful style—this book is both impressive and delightful.”



“Martin Seel is undoubtedly among the most prominent and interesting aestheticians writing in Germany today, and his philosophical meditation on the cinema gives us a highly original and elegant account of film as a comprehensive aesthetic experience. The Arts of Cinema is beautifully written and will be accessible to a wide range of readers who have an interest in film or aesthetic theory.”

—Peter Gilgen, Cornell University


In The Arts of Cinema, Martin Seel explores film’s connections to the other arts and the qualities that distinguish it from them. In nine concise and elegantly written chapters, he explores the cinema’s singular aesthetic potential and uses specific examples from a diverse range of films—from Antonioni and Hitchcock to The Searchers and The Bourne Supremacy—to demonstrate the many ways this potential can be realized. Seel’s analysis provides both a new perspective on film as a comprehensive aesthetic experience and a nuanced understanding of what the medium does to us once we are in the cinema.


Opening Credits

Affairs—The Site of the Cinema—”Film”—The Course of Things—The Film Program

Chapter 1. Film as Architecture

A Beginning—Division of Space—Ambient Sound—Some Opening Credits—Landscapes—Two Extremes—An Ending—Spatial Imagination—More Opening Credits

Chapter 2. Film as Music

A Prelude—Time Connections—Action (1)—Double Motion—Action (2)—Spaces of Time—Higher Rhythm—Explosion

Chapter 3. Film as Image

People Waiting—Pictorial Appearing—Image and Movement—Photography and Film—Another Trip—The Promise of Photography—Image Analysis—The Promise of Film—Another Ending

Chapter 4. Film as Spectacle

Anarchy—Division of Space, Again—Virtuality—Sculpturality—Actors—Voices—Theatricality—Attractionism—Ecstasy

Chapter 5. Film as Narrative

Three Films—Abstinence—Narrative Disposition—Telling Stories—Perspectivity—Filmic Storytelling—Cinema’s Temporal Form—The Present Past

Chapter 6. Film as Exploration

In Baghdad—Urban Landscapes—Realities—Techniques of Documentation—A Double Promise—Techniques of Fiction—Questions of Style—Loss of Control—References to the World—The End

Chapter 7. Film as Imagination

At Bakersfield—An Illusionistic Interpretation—The Figure of the Illusionist—Illusion and Immersion—Imagination Not Illusion—Photography and Film, Again—Twofold Attention—Illusion as a Technique—Caché

Chapter 8. Film as Emotion

The End, Yet Again—The Illusionist’s Final Appearance—Motion and Emotion—Corporeality—Sensate Understanding—Expressivity—Engagement—Twofold Attention, Again—Mixed Emotions—Godard

Chapter 9. Film as Philosophy

Flashbacks—Another Affair—Three Dimensions—Cine-anthropology—Active Passivity—An Encore—Landscapes, Once Again

Closing Credits


Translator’s Note


Name Index

Film Index

About the Author:

Martin Seel is Professor of Philosophy at the Goethe University Frankfurt. He is the author of fourteen books of philosophy and aesthetics, including Aesthetics of Appearing.

About the Translator:

Kizer S. Walker is Director of Collections for Cornell University Library, Librarian for German Studies, and Managing Editor of the series Signale: Modern German Letters, Cultures, and Thought, copublished by Cornell University Press and Cornell University Library.

Target Audience:

People interested in Media Studies.

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