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  • Towards a General Economics of Cinema

    Rights statement: This extract is taken from the author's original manuscript and has not been edited. The definitive version of this piece may be found in Fiction and Economy edited by Susan Bruce and Valeria Wagner which can be accessed from www.palgrave.com

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Towards a General Economics of Cinema

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

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Towards a General Economics of Cinema. / Bennett, Bruce.

Fiction and Economy. ed. / Susan Bruce; Valeria Wagner. London and New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. p. 167-186.

Research output: Contribution in Book/Report/Proceedings - With ISBN/ISSNChapter (peer-reviewed)

Harvard

Bennett, B 2007, Towards a General Economics of Cinema. in S Bruce & V Wagner (eds), Fiction and Economy. Palgrave Macmillan, London and New York, pp. 167-186.

APA

Bennett, B. (2007). Towards a General Economics of Cinema. In S. Bruce, & V. Wagner (Eds.), Fiction and Economy (pp. 167-186). London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Vancouver

Bennett B. Towards a General Economics of Cinema. In Bruce S, Wagner V, editors, Fiction and Economy. London and New York: Palgrave Macmillan. 2007. p. 167-186

Author

Bennett, Bruce. / Towards a General Economics of Cinema. Fiction and Economy. editor / Susan Bruce ; Valeria Wagner. London and New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2007. pp. 167-186

Bibtex

@inbook{762728149b084a44ac5a76f4b2b708bf,
title = "Towards a General Economics of Cinema",
abstract = "In this paper I argue that a reading of Georges Bataille’s work on economics and excess and his formulation of the critical concept of ‘general economy’ can be instructive with regard to understanding the role of spectacle in contemporary cinema. Thinking about cinema in relation to general economy offers a basis for a critical model of cinema which can reconcile its economic and aesthetic functions rather than holding them apart as conventional theories of film have tended to do. The paper takes as its primary case study James Cameron’s $200m blockbuster Titanic, a film notable for its phenomenal scale and expense. Also notable is the contrast between the film’s massive commercial success, and the critical tendency to dismiss the film as sentimental, nostalgic, simplistic, incoherent, anachronistic and bombastic. I suggest that this striking contrast exposes a failure of film criticism to account for cinematic spectacle as anything other than a reprehensible device for audience manipulation. What is at stake in this omission is, therefore, the exclusion of popular cultural objects from an academic discourse of film criticism (and a simplistic model of the spectatorial relationship with the text). This paper mobilizes Bataille’s model of general economy, in which excess is foregrounded, to offer a different way of understanding the attractions, complexities and meanings of popular cinema and, in turn, the meanings and pleasures of cultural activity more broadly.",
keywords = "Georges Bataille, James Cameron, Titanic, film aesthetics, General economy, non-productive expenditure, Hollywood cinema, film theory",
author = "Bruce Bennett",
year = "2007",
month = "9",
language = "English",
isbn = "9780230005242",
pages = "167--186",
editor = "Susan Bruce and Wagner, {Valeria }",
booktitle = "Fiction and Economy",
publisher = "Palgrave Macmillan",

}

RIS

TY - CHAP

T1 - Towards a General Economics of Cinema

AU - Bennett, Bruce

PY - 2007/9

Y1 - 2007/9

N2 - In this paper I argue that a reading of Georges Bataille’s work on economics and excess and his formulation of the critical concept of ‘general economy’ can be instructive with regard to understanding the role of spectacle in contemporary cinema. Thinking about cinema in relation to general economy offers a basis for a critical model of cinema which can reconcile its economic and aesthetic functions rather than holding them apart as conventional theories of film have tended to do. The paper takes as its primary case study James Cameron’s $200m blockbuster Titanic, a film notable for its phenomenal scale and expense. Also notable is the contrast between the film’s massive commercial success, and the critical tendency to dismiss the film as sentimental, nostalgic, simplistic, incoherent, anachronistic and bombastic. I suggest that this striking contrast exposes a failure of film criticism to account for cinematic spectacle as anything other than a reprehensible device for audience manipulation. What is at stake in this omission is, therefore, the exclusion of popular cultural objects from an academic discourse of film criticism (and a simplistic model of the spectatorial relationship with the text). This paper mobilizes Bataille’s model of general economy, in which excess is foregrounded, to offer a different way of understanding the attractions, complexities and meanings of popular cinema and, in turn, the meanings and pleasures of cultural activity more broadly.

AB - In this paper I argue that a reading of Georges Bataille’s work on economics and excess and his formulation of the critical concept of ‘general economy’ can be instructive with regard to understanding the role of spectacle in contemporary cinema. Thinking about cinema in relation to general economy offers a basis for a critical model of cinema which can reconcile its economic and aesthetic functions rather than holding them apart as conventional theories of film have tended to do. The paper takes as its primary case study James Cameron’s $200m blockbuster Titanic, a film notable for its phenomenal scale and expense. Also notable is the contrast between the film’s massive commercial success, and the critical tendency to dismiss the film as sentimental, nostalgic, simplistic, incoherent, anachronistic and bombastic. I suggest that this striking contrast exposes a failure of film criticism to account for cinematic spectacle as anything other than a reprehensible device for audience manipulation. What is at stake in this omission is, therefore, the exclusion of popular cultural objects from an academic discourse of film criticism (and a simplistic model of the spectatorial relationship with the text). This paper mobilizes Bataille’s model of general economy, in which excess is foregrounded, to offer a different way of understanding the attractions, complexities and meanings of popular cinema and, in turn, the meanings and pleasures of cultural activity more broadly.

KW - Georges Bataille, James Cameron, Titanic, film aesthetics, General economy, non-productive expenditure, Hollywood cinema, film theory

M3 - Chapter (peer-reviewed)

SN - 9780230005242

SP - 167

EP - 186

BT - Fiction and Economy

A2 - Bruce, Susan

A2 - Wagner, Valeria

PB - Palgrave Macmillan

CY - London and New York

ER -