The Politics of Cinematic Pleasure (with Some Reflections on The Sound of Music)

  • Richard Rushton


In Chapter 2 a number of concepts that were taken up by film scholars influenced by Louis Althusser during the late 1960s and 1970s were examined. Under the umbrella concept of ideology, a range of analytical categories — contradiction, alienation and symptomatic reading — were fleshed out. These terms offered a powerful argumentative rhetoric by means of which film scholars could judge films according to how adequately—or how in adequately — specific films responded to such categories. Films that accurately gave rise to conditions of contradiction or alienation, or those films of which positive symptomatic readings could be made (as in the case of Young Mr Lincoln) were declared politically positive, while those which failed to offer access to such categories were deemed politically negative (including those that were subjected to negative symptomatic readings). Writers approached these discussions from a range of different angles, as we have seen, and these positions have since found ways of being applicable to questions not only of Marxism, but also gender, sexuality and race.


Happy Ending Oedipus Complex Umbrella Concept Formal Democracy Hollywood Cinema 
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Copyright information

© Richard Rushton 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Rushton
    • 1
  1. 1.Lancaster UniversityUK

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