First published in 1969, Signs and Meaning in the Cinema transformed the emerging discipline of film studies. Remarkably eclectic and informed, Peter Wollen's highly influential and groundbreaking work remains a brilliant and accessible theorisation of film as an art form and as a sign system.
The book is divided into three main sections. The first explores the work of Sergei Eisenstein as film-maker, designer and aesthetician. The second, which contains a celebrated comparison of the films of John Ford and Howard Hawks, is an exposition
and defence of the auteur theory. The third formulates a semiology of the cinema, invoking cinema as an exemplary test-case for comparative aesthetics and general theories of signification. Wollen's Conclusion argues for an avant-garde cinema, bringing
post-structuralist ideas into his discussion of Godard and other contemporaries.
Published as part of the BFI Silver series, this fifth edition features a new foreword by film theorist David Rodowick and brings together material from the four previous editions, inviting the reader to trace the development of Wollen's thinking, and the unfolding of the discourse of cinema.