Realism in film (and other representations)

In Katherine Thomson-Jones (ed.), Current Controversies in the Philosophy of Film. Routledge (2016)
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What is it for a film to be realistic? Of the many answers that have been proposed, I review five: that it is accurate and precise; that is has relatively few prominent formal features; that it is illusionistic; that it is transparent; and that, while plainly a moving picture, it looks to be a photographic recording, not of the actors and sets in fact filmed, but of the events narrated. The number and variety of these options raise a deeper question: what is realism, if these are all to count as species of it? In answer, I articulate a sort of picture we have of realism, not just in film but in representations in general. I then ask how far each of the candidate realisms fares, when compared with that image.

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Robert Hopkins
New York University


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