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Film Studies Research Guide: Close Analysis of Film (Film 320: Terri Francis)

A guide to conducting research in Film Studies at Yale University, including key resources and crucial search strategies.

Close Analysis of Film

Selected Subject Headings in Orbis

  • Motion pictures--Aesthetics
  • Motion pictures--United States--Aesthetics
  • Motion pictures and literature
  • Film criticism
  • Feminist film criticism
  • Feminism and motion pictures
  • Motion picture plays--History and criticism
  • Motion pictures--Philosophy
  • Motion pictures--Plots, themes, etc.
  • Motion pictures--Political aspects
  • Motion pictures--Psychological aspects
  • Motion pictures--Reviews
  • Motion pictures--Semiotics
  • Motion pictures--Social aspects
  • Auteur theory (Motion pictures)
  • Godard, Jean Luc, 1930- --Criticism and interpretation
  • Deleuze, Gilles--Contributions in film theory
  • Do the right thing (Motion picture)

Finding Articles and Reviews

NOTE: The databases give few or no citations before 1973, so you may miss significant articles and reviews if you depend only on the online tools. Check whether you need to look through indexes in print and other resources.

Selected indexes are listed below. There is also a full list of article indexes.

American Film Institute Catalog
SML Reference PN1998 +A43

Online catalog of every American film from 1893 to 1970. Searchable by keywords; film titles; cast, crew, and character names; subject; genre and more. Most records include extensive plot summaries and comprehensive filmographic information, plus citations to reviews and articles.

FIAF International FilmArchive Database
Continues: International Index to Film Periodicals. 1972- (New York: Bowker, 1973-)
SML, Reference Z5784 M9 +I58 (LC)

Indexes 65-80 international periodicals of "aesthetic or critical value." The paper version has separate volume of subject headings for this index. The online version also includes a number of specialized bibliographies (silents, Latin American cinema), and information about film archives and collections.

Film Index International (Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1994-98)

Film Index International covers all genres of film, from the first silent movies and art-house classics to recent sci-fi blockbusters. Content is very current and is updated twice yearly. FII offers Quick or Precision Search options for background on over 100,000 films from over 170 countries, including 55,000 personalities, 500,000 periodical articles on film and filmmakers, U.S. and international film award winners, and over 1 million cast and credit references.

Film Indexes Online (Alexandria, VA: Chadwyck-Healey, 1994-98)

Film Indexes Online is a portal that allows one to simultaneously search both the American Film Institute Catalog and Film Index International. For descriptions of these databases, please see their entries on this page.

Film Literature Index. 1973- (Albany, NY: Filmdex, 1974-)
SML, Reference Z5784 M9 F55 (LC)

The most important index for research in Film Studies -- covering film criticism from 1974 to the present. Indexes over 300 international film periodicals. Film title, personal name, and subject indexes are included. Film Literature Index also includes critical articles on television and video (section two). For earlier scholarship, consult the Retrospective Index to Film Periodicals, below. There is no online version of this index yet.
Film Review Annual. (Englewood, N.J.: Jerome S. Ozer, 1981-)
CCL Stacks, PN1995 F543 (LC) [most recent volume]
SML Stacks, PN1995 F543 (LC) [previous volumes] This series reprints film reviews from various resources for each film.
Film Review Index. Ed. Patricia King Hanson. (Phoenix: Oryx Press, 1986)
SML Reference Z5784 M9 +F554 (LC) Two volume comprehensive index of movie reviews from 1882 through 1985. Consult this for a good listing of reviews and short articles.  

International Index to the Performing Arts
IIPA draws its current content from more than 130 international periodicals and also indexes articles and obituaries appearing in The New York Times and The Washington Post. IIPA covers nearly all aspects of the world of performing arts, including film, theater, and opera. Most IIPA records in the current file (1998 forward) contain an abstract.

MLA Bibliography (New York: Modern Language Association of American, 1921- )
SML Reference, Index Case 7, Row 14 [Z7006 M63 (LC)]

The MLA Bibliography indexes critical materials on literature, languages, linguistics, and folklore. It also includes film studies. The database provides access to citations from over 4,000 journals and series published worldwide, as well as books, essay collections, working papers, proceedings, dissertations, and bibliographies. The print volumes go back to 1921 and the database covers from 1963 to the present. The MLA Bibliography continues the Modern Language Association Annual Bibliography. For earlier volumes, check the SML Card Catalog under "Modern Language Association."

Introductions and Guides to Film Research

Manchel, Frank. Film Study: An Analytical Bibliography. (Rutherford, NJ: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press; London: Associated University Presses, 1990) 4v.
SML Reference, Z5784 M9 M34 1990 (LC)
The Oxford guide to film studies. Edited by John Hill and Pamela Church Gibson. (Published: New York: Oxford University Press, 1998.)
SML Reference, PN1995 O93 1998 Short essays on aspects of film (such as the text, acting, music), critical approaches (e.g., semiotics, psychoanalysis, post-structuralism, feminism), and history (American, European, world).

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