Visual Media and the Tyranny of the Real

Devin Orgeron

in The Oxford Handbook of Film and Media Studies

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195175967
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Visual Media and the Tyranny of the Real

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This article takes into account the critical, theoretical, and cultural history of “realism”. Aside from focusing on cinema, the discussion also references other visual media, which have influenced the ever-changing notions of cinematic realism. It takes a look at the concept of a “privileged relationship” and observes the impact of modernity on the authentic, the real, and the human. Here it reveals that Siegfried Kracauer, André Bazin, and Walter Benjamin studied photography, which they considered as the most critical predecessor of cinema and the single most important technological development of the twentieth century. This is followed by a discussion of early cinema and “the realist tendency”, along with the concepts of German expressionism and Italian neorealism. Finally, the article determines where the debate on realism is headed.

Keywords: realism; visual media; cinematic realism; privileged relationship; modernity; photography; early cinema; realist tendency; German expressionism; Italian neorealism

Article.  13884 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Theory and Cultural Studies

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