Date of Award

Fall 1-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Angelo Restivo

Second Advisor

Jennifer M. Barker

Third Advisor

Ted Friedman


"Realism" is one of the enduring theoretical problems of the cinema. This study aims to broaden the parameters of the term by focusing on an often overlooked strain of thought that flows throughout the work of a number of prominent and seemingly incongruous thinkers such as Bazin, Kracauer, Benjamin, Barthes, Buñuel, and others. Realism, I contend, is undergirded by something far more elusive and irrational than verisimilitude or social commentary. To demonstrate, I will examine a body of contemporary American films that I will cast—perhaps provocatively—as realist. I rely heavily upon Deleuze to discuss how free indirect discourse and the disjunction of sound and image open realism to an oneiric and/or intersubjective realm.


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