Martin Lefebvre on Jean Mitry

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In 1963 and 1965 Jean Mitrypublished two massive tomes that, according to Christian Metz who reviewed them, bookended the period sometimes known as ‘classical film theory.’ Just slightly under 1000 pages long, printed in a large format, the two books are colossal in both size and scope.There is a common underlying thread that joins together aspects of Esthétique et psychologie du cinéma  seemingly as diverse as Mitry’s theory of film representation and film language (his semiotic), his epistemology and his conception of aesthetic goodness in the cinema. It is this thread that I wish to briefly outline.