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The Film Fetish


Kenneth Marc Harris

This study discusses definitions of fetishism as they apply to film theory, using psychological concepts from Freud and Lacan, and Western Marxist concepts. The author attempts to extend feminist film theory on the subject of fetishism by going beyond gender to spectatorial responses to specific presentations. Fetishism is linked to the affective power of film and is located in its time-stopping effect. The book examines empathic identification and also considers racism and the erotic as commodified in film. Films discussed include Casablanca, Sirk's Magnificent Obsession, The Harder They Come, and Fort Apache.
Contents: The essay examines the concept of fetishism in contemporary film theory to arrive at a new explanation of the affective power of cinema, based largely on its time-slowing effect.