Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television

Ambiguity and Film Criticism

Reasonable Doubt

Authors: Law, Hoi Lun

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  • Develops the dynamic of question-and-answer as a critical strategy to understand and appreciate films
  • Addresses challenging issues in film analysis such as “overreading”, the possibility of critical speculation, and the much-debated divide between “surface” and “deeper” meanings.
  • Probes various ways of understanding ambiguity through detailed readings of a diverse range of films, including Ten (Abbas Kiarostami, 2002), Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (Fritz Lang, 1956), and Force Majeure (Ruben Östlund, 2014).
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eBook $39.99
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valid through December 31, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62945-8
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Hardcover $54.99
$109.99 (listprice)
price for USA
valid through December 31, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62944-1
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About this book

This book defends an account of ambiguity which illuminates the aesthetic possibilities of film and the nature of film criticism. Ambiguity typically describes the condition of multiple meanings. But we can find multiple meanings in what appears unambiguous to us. So, what makes ambiguity ambiguous? This study argues that a sense of uncertainty is vital to the concept. Ambiguity is what presses us to inquire into our puzzlement over a movie, to persistently ask “why is it as it is?” Notably, this account of the concept is also an account of its criticism. It recognises that a satisfying assessment of what is ambiguous involves both our reason and doubt; that is, reason and doubt can work together in our practice of reading. This book, then, considers ambiguity as a form of reasonable doubt, one that invites us to reflect on our critical efforts, rethinking the operation of film criticism.   


     

About the authors

Hoi Lun Law has previously taught at the University of Bristol and the University of the West of England, UK.

       

Reviews

“Law’s selections are refreshingly diverse…. Most importantly, his collection is a testament to the importance of active viewing, of entering a critical dialogue with a piece of art rather than taking it all in at face value.” (Thomas Puhr, Film International) 

“The great film director Alexander Mackendrick once declared: ‘Ambiguity does not mean lack of clarity’. Hoi Lun Law brings a razor-sharp eye, ear and mind to the question of ambiguity in cinema, and how film criticism can best discern and explore it. This is a highly significant and original book – lucid, engaging, well-written and persuasive, while also subtly challenging many of our received ideas about the workings of ambiguity.” (Prof. Adrian Martin, author of Mysteries of Cinema)

 

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
$84.99 (listprice)
price for USA
valid through December 31, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62945-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
$109.99 (listprice)
price for USA
valid through December 31, 2021
  • ISBN 978-3-030-62944-1
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Institutional customers should get in touch with their account manager
  • Shipping restrictions
  • Usually ready to be dispatched within 3 to 5 business days, if in stock

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Ambiguity and Film Criticism
Book Subtitle
Reasonable Doubt
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Close Readings in Film and Television
Copyright
2021
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-62945-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-62945-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-62944-1
Series ISSN
2634-6133
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
IX, 188
Number of Illustrations
15 b/w illustrations, 10 illustrations in colour
Topics