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Palgrave Macmillan

Screening the Face

ISBN 9781137012289
Publication Date June 2012
Formats Ebook (PDF) Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Paul Coates presents the face in film as a place where transformations begin, above all under the influence of modernity's problematization of the reading of faces, but also of age-old myths. The book considers where and how the face becomes either a mask, or what Lacanian theory would term 'the Thing', in a perspective informed by film theory, anthropology, philosophy and theology. Although its key text is Ingmar Bergman's Persona, it analyzes a wide range of other films, primarily European and American, including Cat People, The Dark Knight, Dekalog 1, Eyes Wide Shut, The Face of Another, Greed, The Passion of Joan of Arc, Triumph of the Will, and various works by Chris Marker. The book investigates the face's modifications by allegory, the close-up, doubling, horror, stardom, veiling and war; the significance of its representation in profile and three-quarter-face; and the urge to mask or freeze its vulnerable, ever-changing nature.

PAUL COATES Professor in Film Studies at the University of Western Ontario, Canada. He has taught at McGill and the University of Aberdeen. His publications include The Story of the Lost Reflection (1985), The Gorgon's Gaze (1991), Cinema, Religion and the Romantic Legacy (2003), The Red and the White: The Cinema of People's Poland (2005) and Cinema and Colour (2010).

Faces and 'Faciality'
The Fate of Contemplation: Closeness and Distance
Masks and Metaphor: Doubles and Animals
Invisibility, Medusa, and the Mask
Dissonance and Synthesis: Persona, the Face, the Mask and the Thing
Works Cited


'Sharing Barthes' and Bergman's premise that the human face remains central to cinematic art, Coates' new book draws on film theory, philosophy, art history, and cultural studies to produce fresh, startling insights on the films that truly matter. The range of examples is as impressive as the erudition.' - Lloyd Michaels, Allegheny College, USA
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