Christian Metz

Posted: October 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Christian Metz is the leading film theoretician in France. The translation of his Essais sur la signification au cinéma (Vol. 1, 1967) has long been awaited by radical critics in this country looking to semiology as a tool for understanding the relationship between ideology and aesthetic expression. Semiology is the science of signifying practice. That is, the theory of the production of meaning in texts. As such, it is not just a formalistic description of the physica1 material of the text. It concerns itself with the status of the text as a discourse. A sender emits a message which is understood by the receiver because both the organization and reception of the message is governed by a system of socially conventionalized rules (even at the level of the unconscious). Semiotic study attempts an analysis in which there is no separation of the specialized codes of a particular medium and the cultural codes which are inscribed in and mediated by it. Thus, some radical film critics find in semiology a way to think and talk about ideology without “extracting” it from its complex interaction with other codes in the film text. (ejumpcut.org – a review of contemporary media)

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