Marxist film theory

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One of the oldest forms of film theory.

Sergei Eisenstein and many other Russian filmmakers in the 20s used Marxism as justification for film. In fact, the Hegelian dialectic was considered best displayed in film editing through the Kuleshov Experiment.

While this structuralist approach to Marxism and filmmaking was used, the more vociferous complaint that the Russian filmmakers had was with the narrative structure of Hollywood filmmaking. They believed, as many Marxists since believe, that Hollywood cinema is designed to draw you into believing in the capitalist propaganda. Shot reverse shot is nothing more than a device to make you align yourself with this unhealthy ideology.

Eisenstein's solution was to shun narrative structure by eliminating the individual protagonist and tell stories where the action is moved by the group and the story is told through a clash of one image against the next (whether in composition, motion, or idea) so that the audience is never lulled into believing that they are watching something that has not been worked over.

Some later Marxist critics saw the very cinematic apparatus to be infused in the capitalistic ideology which no film can escape.