David Bordwell

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David Bordwell (2007)

David Bordwell (born July 23, 1947 ) is an American film scholar . He taught as a professor for film studies at the University of Wisconsin and is an annual guest lecturer at the international film school in Cologne . His book Film Art: An Introduction , written together with his wife, the film scholar Kristin Thompson (* 1950), is considered one of the standard works in film studies. Bordwell lives in Madison with his wife .

Bordwell studied film studies at the University of Iowa , where he also received his PhD. In his first work, Film Art , published in 1979 together with Kristin Thompson, he postulated the teaching approach of neoformalism , which is based on the Russian formalism of the early 20th century. In rejection of a psychoanalytic film theory that reduces film to its unconscious effect on the viewer, in neoformalism a consideration of the film comes to the fore, in which the stylistic norms and conventions of the film in their aesthetic expression and effect with regard to the expectations of the viewer and the Possibility of consciously understanding them to be examined. Bordwell takes a cognitivistically oriented approach that seeks to make connections between film structure and audience reception recognizable and schematize.

Bordwell researched in the areas of the author theory , where he published on Ozu Yasujirō , Carl Theodor Dreyer and Sergej Eisenstein . He also focused on Hong Kong cinema , the history of cinematic style development and cinematic narrative theory .


  • David Bordwell: The Films of Carl-Theodor Dreyer. University of California Press 1981.
  • David Bordwell: Narration in the Fiction Film. University of Wisconsin Press 1985.
  • David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson and Janet Staiger: The Classical Hollywood Cinema: Film Style and Mode of Production to 1960. Columbia University Press 1985.
  • David Bordwell: Ozu and the Poetics of Cinema. Princeton University Press 1988.
  • David Bordwell: Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema. Harvard University Press 1989.
  • David Bordwell: The Cinema of Eisenstein. Harvard University Press 1993
  • David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson: Film History: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill, New York 1994.
  • David Bordwell: On the History of Film Style. Harvard University Press 1997
  • David Bordwell: Planet Hong Kong: Popular Cinema and the Art of Entertainment. Harvard University Press 2000.
  • David Bordwell: Visual Style in Cinema: Four Chapters of Film History. Publishing house of the authors 2001.
  • David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson: Film Art: An Introduction. McGraw-Hill, New York 2003. (7th edition)
  • David Bordwell: Figures Traced in Light: On Cinematic Staging. University of California Press 2005
  • David Bordwell: The Way Hollywood Tells It: Story and Style in Modern Movies. University of California Press. 2006.

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