University of Illinois at Chicago
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Digital Film Art and the Persistence of the Classical Hollywood Style

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posted on 2014-02-24, 00:00 authored by Kevin Smith
The beginning of the 21st Century saw many pronouncements within Film Studies of the decline of the traditional narrative paradigm in cinema due to recent advances in digital filmmaking technologies. This dissertation investigates the history of key digital innovations and the main areas of ostensible change during this supposed digital revolution: the increasing preeminence of spectacle cinema to the detriment of classical narrative form, the decline of realism that has conventionally been in service of narrative plausibility, the fall of unity as a key component of narrative form due to the rise of open-ended story worlds and the interactive exhibition platforms they are delivered on, and the changes wrought on the standardized Hollywood division of labor and workflow by digital technologies and production strategies. Through a close stylistic analysis of contemporary Hollywood films containing digital visual effects and constructed with related digital filmmaking tools, the thesis is advanced that the formal patterns established at the beginning of the 20th Century not only remain in the ascendant within film art, but are demonstrating a powerful influence over competing media formats such as video games and taming the challenges to its 100-year-old dominance as the primary way visual art and entertainment in the United States are distributed and consumed.



Wexman, Virginia



Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Hall, Sara Schaafsma, David Jones, Steve Messenger, Christian

Submitted date



  • en

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