Film and Ideology - Remarks on a Complicated Relationship

Fredrik Sunnemark
Section for Cultural Studies, University West, Sweden

Ladda ner artikelhttp://www.ep.liu.se/ecp_article/index.en.aspx?issue=025;article=060

Ingår i: Inter: A European Cultural Studies : Conference in Sweden 11-13 June 2007

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 25:60, s. 593-599

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Publicerad: 2007-11-27


ISSN: 1650-3686 (tryckt), 1650-3740 (online)


To argue that films are ideological products is not in any way controversial. Rather; this is the very basis for much discussion; understanding and critique of film. But still; this is an understanding that is very much in need of further critical examination. What does it mean to say that a film carries and transmits ideological notions? The answers to this question actualize several different notions of film as well ideology.

Are films ideological in the sense that they mirror they society in which they are created? Or are they ideological since they discuss and provide certain perspectives on this society? Is it possible that there are different ideological projects in the same film depending on which of these perspectives one chooses?

In the paper; these questions are examined on a theoretical level as well as through examples from the films King Kong; Pretty Woman and American Psycho.


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Baudry, Jean-Louis (1970/1986) “Ideological Effects of the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus”. In: Philip Rosen (ed.). Narrative, Apparatus, Ideology. A Film Theory Reader. New York: Columbia University Press pp. 186–298.

Creed, Barbara (1993) The Monstrous-Feminine. Film, Feminism, Psychoanalysis. London: Routledge.

Laclau, Ernesto & Chantal Mouffe (1985/2001) Hegemony and Socialist Strategy. Towards a Radical Democratic Politics. London: Verso.

Purvis, Trevor & Alan Hunt (1993) “Discourse, Ideology, Discourse, Ideology, Discourse, Ideology...”. In: The British Journal of SociologyVol. 44 No 3 pp. 473–499.

Rony, Fatimah Tobing (1996) The Third Eye. Race, Cinema and Ethnographic Spectacle. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Ryan, Michael & Kellner, Douglas (1988) Camera Politica. The Politics and Ideology of Contemporary Hollywood Film. Bloomington, Ind: Indiana University Press.

Teaching ‘Pretty Woman’ (2003) Discussion, WMST-L File Collection. http://userpages.umbc.edu/~korenman/wmst/pretty.html.

Žižek, Slavoj (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology. London Verso.

Žižek, Slavoj (1992) Enjoy Your Symptom! Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge.

Žižek, Slavoj (1994) The Metastases of Enjoyment. Six Essays on Woman and Causality. London: Verso.


American Psycho (Mary Harron 2000)
King Kong (Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack 1933). King Kong (Peter Jackson 2005).
Pretty Woman (Gary Marshall 1990).

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