Film light

Meaning and emotion

By Lara Thompson

Film light


  • Hardcover

Book Information

  • Format: Paperback
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-8634-2
  • Pages: 208
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £15.00
  • Published Date: August 2017
  • BIC Category: Film and Media, Film history, theory & criticism, PHOTOGRAPHY / Techniques / Lighting, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism, The arts / Film theory & criticism


A unique and wide-ranging analysis of the aesthetic and emotional impact of lighting in cinema. Lara Thompson looks at the way light informs the cinematic experience, from constructing star identities, sculpting natural light and creating imaginary worlds, to the seductive power of darkness, fading representations of the past and arresting twilight encounters. This groundbreaking and accessible introductory study offers a unique insight into the way illumination has transcended its diffuse functional boundaries and been elevated to a position of narrative and emotional importance, transforming it from an unobtrusive element of film style to an expressive and essential component. It includes analyses of over fifty renowned international films, discussed in inventive and illuminating combinations, from cinema's earliest moments to its most recent digital manifestations.


Lara Thompson is a writer and lecturer whose research focuses primarily on the relationship between cinema and photography


Part I: The presence of light
1. Identity
2. Authenticity
3. The imaginary
Part II: The absence of light
4. Mystery
5. The past
6. The magic hour

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