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integral cinematic analysis

Mapping the Multiple Dimensions of the Cinema and the Co-Evolution of
Cinema, Consciousness, Culture, & Society

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ABSTRACT: This article provides an introduction to the application of integral and transdisciplinary approaches to cinematic media theoretical analysis, using the theories and works of Jean Gebser, Edgar Morin, and Ken Wilber to potentially integrate the major cinematic theoretical and analytical approaches into a comprehensive meta-approach covering the objective, subjective, intersubjective, and interobjective dimensions of the cinematic arts. Specific integrally informed lenses of cinematic analysis are also introduced as part of this meta-approach, based on Geberís perspectival structures, Morinís cinematic complexity, and Wilberís Integral framework. Potential benefits for this meta-approach are presented, including a deeper and more expansive understanding of the complex interrelatedness of the experience, form, language, and context of cinematic works, collective works of individual cinematic artists, genres and styles, collective movements within the medium, along with the evolution of the cinematic medium itself and its relationship with the evolution of individual and collective consciousness, culture, and society.


The medium of the moving image began as a series of still images crudely strung together and silently projected with hand-cranked machines in small storefront theaters capturing and sharing simple and everyday movements of the physical world; over time the medium has evolved into one in which hyper-real creations of vast imaginary worlds and reflections of complex realities are projected across multiple viewing platforms that pervade our lives, from giant immersive walls of flickering light to tiny screens that we hold in our hands and projection windows that we wear in front of our eyes.1 Since its early beginnings many have analyzed this evolving medium, attempting to fully understand it and utilize it to its fullest potential. Many different analytical theories and approaches have evolved over time as well, including different approaches of analysis for different aspects of the medium, from form and content to the experience of the viewer to cultural and social influences; separate schools of analysis for each new evolving form of the moving image, from movies to television to video games and beyond; and the inclusion of interdisciplinary approaches from other domains of knowledge, from philosophy to linguistics to the hard sciences (Andrews, 1976; Braudy & Cohen, 2009; Kaplan, 2009; Rombes, 2009). This article is a preliminary attempt to more fully understand this continually evolving complex medium by exploring the development of an integrally informed transdisciplinary meta-approach for cinematic analysis to potentially map and integrate the plethora of analytical theories, approaches, and schools of thought, and expand our capacity to comprehend and utilize the increasing power and pervasiveness of the moving image.

For the purposes of this article, I use the terms cinema, cinematic, cinematic media, and cinematic arts to refer to the moving or kinetic image in all its evolving forms, including movies, television, video games, and home, online, and mobile video.2 The term ďcinematic analysisĒ in this context covers the full range of analytical approaches common to these evolving forms of the cinematic arts for the analysis and evaluation
of individual and collective cinematic works, genres, styles, and collective movements within the medium, and the study of the essence and evolution of the medium itself and its relationship to self, culture, and world.


The complete article is available for download at:

MetaIntegral Foundation




The contents of this document are Copyright © 2013 by MetaIntegral Foundation. This paper originally appeared as an article published in The Journal of Integral Theory and Practice, 2013, Volume 8, Number 3&4, Pages 255-276. Used with permission.



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