Aesthetic Spaces

E-book – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3908-4

Cloth Text – $99.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3907-7

Paper Text – $34.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3906-0
Publication Date
February 2019
Page Count
224 pages
Trim Size
6 x 9

Aesthetic Spaces

The Place of Art in Film
Brigitte Peucker

Films provide valuable spaces for aesthetic experimentation and analysis, for cinema's openness to other media has always allowed it to expand its own. In Aesthetic Spaces, Brigitte Peucker shows that when painterly or theatrical conventions are appropriated by the medium of film, the dissonant effects produced open it up to intermedial reflection and tell us a great deal about cinema itself. 

The films studied in these chapters include those by Abbas Kiarostami, Alfred Hitchcock, Michelangelo Antonioni, Jean-Luc Godard, Carl Th. Dreyer, Peter Greenaway, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Ingmar Bergman, Jacques Rivette, Fritz Lang, F. W. Murnau, Lars von Trier, Spike Jonze, Éric Rohmer, Lech Majewski, and others. Where two media are in evidence in these films, there is usually a third, and often theater mediates between film and painting. Aesthetic Spaces interrogates issues of cinematic space and mise-en-scène from different but interconnected theoretical perspectives, organizing its chapters around some of the formal principles—space, spectator, frame, color and lighting, props, décor, and actor—that shape films.

Drawing on the older arts to renew cinema, the films examined deploy paintings as material: Poussin and Bruegel, Rembrandt, Hals and Klimt, and medieval illustrations and modernist abstractions are used to expand our notions of cinematic space. Peucker shows that when different media come together in film, they create effects of dissonance out of which new modes of looking may arise.
About the Author

BRIGITTE PEUCKER is the Elias Leavenworth Professor of German and Professor of Film and Media Studies at Yale University. She is the author of The Material Image: Art and the Real in Film and Incorporating Images: Film and the Rival Arts, among other books.

"This book is a meditation on cinema's hybrid or 'intermedial' status that proceeds through elegant, finely nuanced and elaborately detailed close readings of canonical films. Refreshingly, the book steers clear of fashionable discussions of intermediality and instead makes a case for cinema as an inherently, even ontologically intermedial art." —John David Rhodes, author of Spectacle of Property: The House in American Film

"Peucker is well known for her important scholarship on the relationship between cinema and art history, as well as for her prominence as a scholar of German film, and this book certainly contributes to both of these fields. Very few books in film studies take on film form so closely and with such sophisticated theoretical attention to the matter of representation." —Rosalind Galt, author of Pretty: Film and the Decorative Image

"Aesthetic Spaces is both a compelling work of film criticism and a welcome intervention into the discussion of the medium itself. Readers will be left eager to return to the films Peucker analyzes to follow her insights into their reliance on the other arts." —Francis Guerin, Film Quarterly