Film and Theory – Theory and Film

Points of departure

In the academic discipline of film and media studies there is a "clandestine syllabus" that sees films as art or cultural products to be analyzed and examined using the methods of film and media studies. Thus, a difference is made between cultural or aesthetic practice on the one hand and academic research on the other.
But since the 1960s, it has been clear that this border has been overstepped both by filmmakers using formats such as the essay film, experimental film, documentary, and "Theory-Fiction", and by academics writing critical essays or experimenting with different ways of writing. There are now many authors working in the border area of film and theory.


Project goals

The idea is to establish a connection between film and theory, and at the same time take a closer look at the rapprochement and blurring of the borders between film and theory.

The connection to authors who make films as well as publishing academic texts seems to be especially incisive. A few years ago, I examined the work (from the1970s) of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, which lies between "Theory and Film" (Pauleit 2001). I suggested viewing theory and film from a common perspective, publishing a critical edition and making it accessible.

This project is about making the films RIDDLES OF THE SPHINX and AMY!, which are in the Arsenal archive, accessible again and highlighting the connection between theory and film by using the following approaches:
- Restoring the films or producing new copies and clarifying the matter of rights
- Producing a DVD and a small book with historical material, as well as commentaries and essays that bring to light the relationship between film and theory
- Presenting the films and the DVD at the Arsenal and at the Kommunalkino Bremen
- Possible symposium "Film and Theory – Theory and Film" (at the Arsenal)

The project work will be carried out with a small group of students from the University of Bremen. The plan is also at the same time for it to be a pilot project for a series on theory and film (other filmmakers from the archive), which will be conducted regularly with small groups of students from the University of Bremen.

Pauleit (2001): „Riddles of the Sphinx. Die Arbeit von Laura Mulvey und Peter Wollen zwischen Counter-Strategie und Dekonstruktion“, in: Hg. Stemmrich G. Kunst / Kino, Jahresring 48 Jahrbuch für moderne Kunst, Köln, 2001, p. 177–193.


Biography of Winfried Pauleit