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Author O'Leary, Brian Eugene
Title Michel Colin's generative semiology: A post-Metzian phase of linguistics in film theory (Christian Metz)
book jacket
Descript 251 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 60-06, Section: A, page: 1805
Supervisor: Alex Argyros
Thesis (Ph.D.)--The University of Texas at Dallas, 1999
In his 1985 book Langue, film, discours: Prolegomenes a une semiologie generative du film, Michel Colin outlined a theory of the construction and interpretation of still and moving images fundamentally based on Noam Chomsky's theory of generative grammar. This is in contrast to almost all previous linguistic-based film theories, such as those of Colin's teacher Christian Metz, which were based on pre-Chomskyan structural linguistics. After Colin died in 1988 without further work on his theory, it has remained largely unexamined; neither has it been updated to reflect subsequent developments in linguistics. This dissertation examines and updates the theory in the following stages, with conclusions as indicated. First, the theory is precisely restated in linguistic terms, since it was confusedly presented in Colin's book as a developmental project with no final summary. The resulting restatement is largely coherent, but some weak areas and gaps become apparent. Second, the theory is tested using quantitative methods. This procedure is possible because Colin makes a number of concrete predictions about image construction, many of which are not intuitively obvious. The theory passes the majority of these tests. Third, the types of qualitative critical applications of his theory that he briefly demonstrates are replicated on a larger scale, and are found to be useful in film criticism. These are further extended into two traditional modes: genre and auteur criticism. Fourth, the theory is evaluated in terms of rival arts theories based on generative grammar. Some of these are deemed inferior, but the film rhythm theory of Theo van Leeuwen appears assimilable to Colin's image theory, so as to suggest a general film cognition theory compatible with the cognitive theories of American linguist Ray Jackendoff. Finally, a program of further research is outlined that would have the effect of expanding Colin's work and accommodating it to more recent developments in linguistics. The final conclusion is that the Colinian project, seen as part of a continuous seventy-year tradition of linguistics-based film theorizing, is valuable as an alternative to either of the opposed positions sometimes advocated by cognitive and poststructuralist film theorists
School code: 0382
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 60-06A
Subject Cinema
Language, Linguistics
Mass Communications
Alt Author The University of Texas at Dallas
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