David Bordwell’s confidence in the prevalence of continuity, not just within cinema but also amongst good cineastes, stems from a belief that, beneath the multiple interpretations of theory, there lie formal aspects, ‘nodal passages’, that all will commonly comprehend (beginnings and endings, plot points, what characters do, and so on). There is a lowest common denominator, so to speak, ‘structural and substantive aspects’ upon which critics ‘have reached consensus and from which they launch their various interpretations’, and it is this that will form the bedrock for any proper empirical study. Moreover, these commonalities can even stretch to the interpretations themselves in terms of their shared values of ‘plausibility’, or ‘notions of comprehension that members of all critical schools share’.2 These mutual values allow Bordwell to think of his approach as a research programme, a communal and scientific project open to debate and refutation, and built upon close observation of films and dialogue between film theorists.
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.