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The Art of Pure Cinema: Hitchcock and His Imitators

Updated: Jul 23

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By Bruce Isaacs, Film Studies

Alfred Hitchcock’s notion of a “pure cinema” has continued to fascinate and perplex film audiences, critics, and theorists alike. The concept first emerged loosely in the 1920s, as European avant-garde artists and intellectuals grappled with the essence of the moving image as an aesthetic form. But what, precisely, was pure cinema as an artistic philosophy and style? How did it evolve within Hitchcock’s body of work, and how was a pure cinema artistic style then developed by the filmmakers who came after Hitchcock, such as Dario Argento and Brian De Palma? The Art of Pure Cinema connects film history and philosophies of image and sound to better understand the legacy of this aesthetic tradition.


Oxford University Press, 2020

BIO

Bruce Isaacs is an Associate Professor in Film Studies at the University of Sydney.

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