Author: Rudolf Arnheim
Publication Date: 1932
To this day, the title of Rudolf Arnheim's seminal Film as Art is a rallying cry. When there's a new kid on the block, there will be blood, and cinema has had to fight accusations of entertainment and brainlessness by the Gods of High Art since the medium's first flickers of light.
A German Jew, Arnheim defended the integrity of film during the rise of Hitler. When the dictator took power, sales of Film as Art ceased and Arnheim fled the country.
His work, which famously incorporated psychology and theories of visual perception, laid the groundwork for all of film theory. By talking about a form, he made it clear that film's no different from any other art. When you interrogate the image, Arnheim is at your side. —RS