- Author(s): Sylvain De Bleeckere
- When: 1994-05
- Where: Communicatio Socialis
As an introduction to the subject to be discussed, I wish to draw attention to Rudolf Arnheim's book Film as Art. Arnheim was one of the first European intellectuals to write an apologia for the new medium of film. In his theory, published in the thirties, he emphasized that film is a new art which merits its own and dignified place among the arts. He called film the tenth Muse. When reviewing his book in the fifties, the author explained that he had tried to lay down the aesthetic code of the new art. He hoped to preserve that code as "a book of standards" for the coming generations of filmmakers. In the review, he also presented his "book of standards" as a useful instrument in the hands of young directors for making dearer films.1 The theoretical will to standardize and to diagnose impurities is typical for the cultural project of the "enlightened" man. It is the project of modemism, the genealogy of which dates back to the modern times, espedally to the Age of Reason. Arnheim's theory is grafted onto modemism. The author hirnself is not aware that his theory is indebted to the philosophical aprioris of modemism. The fundamental reason for that is the absence of any explidt concept of culture. He develops his theory without investigating its cultural context. Furthermore, he completely overlooks the indispensable cultural dimension of film.