Textural Worlds

Activity: Talk or presentation typesInvited talk


This paper will focus on the potential of texture to contribute to debates around narrative, place, and genre. It is part of a project that seeks to establish texture, in the context of its usage in other arts disciplines, as a crucial concept in film criticism, and its potential to enrich discussions of form and sensation in film.

Texture is more commonly discussed in relation to visual art and design, music and literature than film, being a fundamental aspect of form for all these disciplines, the combination of small-scale detail which holds the structure together. Texture has an important sensory dimension, it expresses the feel (in terms of perception and touch) of something and thus evokes response from the viewer/listener/reader. For film, texture offers a way of acknowledging the importance of decisions around style/form to our responsiveness to film, to its patterns, to its overall shape.

The western will form the magnetic field of the paper's focus on narrative, place and genre, with comparison of two rather abstracted examples of the genre: Ride Lonesome (Budd Boetticher, 1959) and The Shooting (Monte Hellman, 1967). These films share similarities of setting, narrative and

character while offering a valuable contrast in their differences in key elements of form, such as aspect ratio and lighting, relationship between camera and performer, and the distinctions in the circumstances of their production that reflect on the gap between studio-era and post-studio Hollywood.

Centre for Film Studies Speaker Series
Period27 Nov 2012
Held atUniversity of St Andrews, United Kingdom


  • texture
  • film design
  • film affect
  • materiality
  • the western
  • Hollywood