By Andrew Horton
The character of comedy has many thinkers, from Plato to Freud, yet movie comedy has no longer bought a lot theoretical cognizance lately. The essays in Comedy/Cinema/Theory use more than a few severe and theoretical methods to discover this curious and engaging topic. the result's a stimulating, informative booklet for someone attracted to movie, humor, and the artwork of bringing the 2 together.Comedy continues to be a significant human preoccupation, regardless of the vagaries in shape that it has assumed over the centuries in several media. In his creation, Horton surveys the background of the learn of comedy, from Aristophanes to the current, and he additionally deals a standpoint on different similar comedian types: published fiction, comedian books, television sitcoms, jokes and gags.Some essays within the assortment specialise in basic concerns pertaining to comedy and cinema. In energetic (and usually funny) prose, such students as Lucy Fischer, Noel Carroll, Peter Lehman, and Brian Henderson hire feminist, post-Freudian, neo-Marxist, and Bakhtinian methodologies. the remainder essays carry theoretical concerns to endure on particular works and comedian filmmakers. Peter Brunette, William Paul, Scott Bukatman, Dana Polan, Charles Eidsvik, Ruth Perlmutter, Stephen Mamber, and Andrew Horton offer diversified views for reading the 3 Stooges, Chaplin, Jerry Lewis, Woody Allen, Dusan Makavejev, and Alfred Hitchcock's sole comedy, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, in addition to the unusual style of cynical humor from jap Europe.As editor Horton notes, an over-arching conception of movie comedy doesn't emanate from those essays. but the range and originality of the contributions mirror very important and turning out to be curiosity within the topic, and either scholars of movie and normal moviegoers will appreciate the consequences.
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Extra resources for Comedy Cinema Theory
Thus, in their origins both comedy and tragedy are concerned with a form of initiation rite that aids Dionysus in moving from a sphere of influence associated with the mother (Semele and, by extension, the matriarchal cultures that preceded classical Greek culture) to that of the father, Zeus. This "second birth" is thus necessarily symbolic and mimetic: hence drama. Jane Harrison sums up by relating the Dionysus cult to an earlier kouros cult from Crete: Both are the reflection of a group religion and of social conditions which are matriarchal and emphasize the figure of Mother and Child.
If, as I have suggested, much of the comic involves fantasy, festivity, wishes, attempts at wish fulfillment, a turning upside down of the norms of everyday society, and thus a joyous, free-wheeling sense of pleasure and freedom, then the ability to "play" with time and space offers the comic filmmaker an almost limitless spectrum of possibilities. From the comic surrealism of Keaton's Sherlock, Jr. (1924), in which the movie projectionist protagonist is buffeted about by the changes in "locations" while he attempts to climb into a film from the movie theater (a concept that Woody Allen more recently played with in The Purple Rose of Cairo ), to the carefully controlled soundtracks to Jacques Tati's French social farces, cinema as a medium has made possible what a Giovanni Boccaccio or a Ben Jonson could only dream about.
William Paul and I make use of Bakhtin's approach to suggest how the sexual (the "lower bodily stratum") is represented or repressed on the screen. Ruth Perlmutter examines Woody Allen's carnivalesque sense of parody. She traces how all of modern history becomes the plaything of his Jewish protagonist's frail or nonexistent sense of identity. Peter Brunette also finds that Bakhtin's remarks help explain how the Three Stooges work against any "logical" sense of narrative as Hollywood has traditionally constructed it.