In'l'odudlon: '(he fa_lly Mlelodl'a.a
Jane
M.
Gaines
* * * * * *
The authors in this volume all circle dubiously around
the basic paradigm that has dominated film studies since the 1970s:
classical Hollywood narrative cinema. That is, the protagonist-driven
story film, valued for the way it achieves closure by neatly resolv-
ing all of the enigmas it raises as well as for the way it creates this
perfect symmetry by means of ingenious aesthetic economies. This
cinema's supreme achievement is that by using these narrative and
imagistic economies it is able to convince viewers that it is one and
the same with the physical world-thus its famous "realistic effect."
What is more, classical narrative is said to be a form so powerful that
its aesthetic devices are able to reinforce gender positions in society.
What I am describing is really two kinds of paradigm at once-a
cinematic one as well as a critical one. This doubling up is not sur-
prising since it is the genius of criticism to will its own position into
being so effectively that the discourse of the object of analysis fits the
discourse of the method of analysis like a glove. And I am yielding
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