First published in 1969, Signs and Meaning in the Cinema transformed the emerging discipline of film studies. Remarkably eclectic and informed, Peter Wollen's highly influential and groundbreaking work remains a brilliant and accessible theorisation of film as an art form and as a sign system.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first explores the work of Sergei Eisenstein as film-maker, designer and aesthetician. The second, which contains a celebrated comparison of the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks, is an exposition
and defence of the auteur theory. The third formulates a semiology of the cinema, invoking cinema as an exemplary test-case for comparative aesthetics and general theories of signification. Wollen's Conclusion argues for an avant-garde cinema, bringing
post-structuralist ideas into his discussion of Godard and other contemporaries.
Published as part of the BFI Silver series, this fifth edition features a new foreword by film theorist David Rodowick and brings together material from the four previous editions, inviting the reader to trace the development of Wollen's thinking, and the unfolding of the discourse of cinema.
PETER WOLLEN taught film at UCLA. He wrote a number of books, including the BFI Film Classic on Singin' in the Rain, published in 1992 and reprinted in a new edition in 2012. He is the co-writer (with Mark Peploe) of Michelangelo Antonioni's The Passenger (Professione: Reporter) (1974). D. N. RODOWICK is William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of Visual and Environmental Studies, and Director, Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, at Harvard University.
Foreword to the 5th Edition.- D. N. Rodowick.- Introduction.- 1: Eisenstein's Aesthetics.- 2: The Auteur Theory.- 3: The Semiology of the Cinema.- Conclusion (1972).- Appendices.- The Writings of Lee Russell: New Left Review (1964-7).- Conclusion (1969).- Style and Aesthetics (1969).- Pantheon Directors (1969).- Afterword (1997): Lee Russell Interviews Peter Wollen.- Booklist (1972).- Acknowledgments (1969).- Editorial Note (2013).- Index.