Christian Metz (critic)  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Christian Metz (1931-1993) was a French film theorist, best known for pioneering the application of Ferdinand de Saussure's theories of semiotics to film. During the 1970s, his work had a major impact on film theory in France, Britain and the United States.

In Film Language: A Semiotics of Cinema, Metz focuses on narrative structure — proposing the "Grand Syntagmatique", a system for categorizing scenes (known as "syntagms") in films.

Metz applied both Sigmund Freud's psychology and Jacques Lacan's mirror theory to the cinema, proposing that the reason film is popular as an art form lies in its ability to both be an imperfect reflection of reality and as a method to delve into the unconscious dream state.

In his essay from The Imaginary Signifier, "Identification, Mirror," Christian Metz argues that viewing film is only possible through scopophilia (pleasure from looking, related to voyeurism), which is best exemplified in silent film.

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