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Who Wrote Citizen Kane? Statistical Analysis of Disputed Co-Authorship (Springer, 2023)


Part of the "Quantitative Methods in the Humanities and Social Sciences"  series:


Citizen Kane (1941) is one of the most acclaimed films in the history of cinema. For 50 years it topped the Sight & Sound film critics’ poll. Orson Welles directed the film and is credited with co-writing the screenplay with Herman J. Mankiewicz. But the co-writer credit generates furious disputes between those who argue Mankiewicz is the sole author of Citizen Kane and those who claim that Welles collaborated fully with its writing.

The author employs computing and statistics to answer two questions: What are the distinguishing features of Welles’ and of Mankiewicz’s writing? And What did each contribute to the writing of the Citizen Kane  screenplay? 

A pdf of the Introduction is available here:

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Narrative and Narration: Analyzing Cinematic Storytelling (Columbia University Press, 2021)


Narrative and Narration is a short introductory textbook that distills the basic components of cinematic storytelling into a set of core concepts—narrative structure, processes of narration, and narrative agents.


The book opens with a discussion of the emergence of narrative and narration in early cinema and proceeds to illustrate key ideas on narrative structure, unreliable narration, puzzle films, and videogame logic from Classical and Contemporary Hollywood cinema and art house cinema.

Wes Anderson’s Symbolic Storyworld: A Semiotic Analysis (Bloomsbury, 2019)

This book presents a theoretical investigation of Wes Anderson’s ‘storyworld’, defining it in terms of core themes and hidden structures, rather than surface aesthetic qualities (the focus of much previous scholarship on his films).

Chapter by chapter, the book examines each of Anderson’s films to demonstrate the proposition that they all share the same underlying symbolic storyworld, or common semantic deep structure. 


(ed., with Daniel Fairfax), Conversations with Christian Metz: Selected Interviews on
    Film Theory (1970-1991)
(Amsterdam University Press, 2017)


This volume collects and translates into English for the first time a series of interviews with Christian Metz, who offers readable summaries, elaborations, and explanations of his sometimes complex and demanding theories of film.

Free Open Access download available on Oapen.

Film Studies: An Introduction; fifth edition (Hachette, 2015) 

A concise guide to: Film aesthetics and narrative; Genres and directors; Documentaries and film reviewing.


“Buckland's pocket-sized volume represents a breakthrough: it's genuinely pitched at novices and succeeds in maintaining a perfect balance between clarity and intellectual complexity.” (Sight and Sound)


Chapter Contents:

(ed.) Hollywood Puzzle Films (Routledge, 2014)

The essays in Hollywood Puzzle Films examine the appropriation of puzzle film techniques by contemporary Hollywood dramas and blockbusters. Analyzing movies like InceptionSource Code, The Butterfly Effect, Donnie Darko, Déjà Vu, and adaptations of Philip K. Dick, contributors explore the implications of Hollywood's new movie mind games.


(ed., with Edward Branigan) The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory (Routledge,


When first encountering film theory, students are often confronted with a dense, interlocking set of texts full of arcane terminology, inexact formulations, sliding definitions, and abstract generalities. The Routledge Encyclopedia of Film Theory challenges these first impressions by aiming to make film theory accessible and open to new readers.

The editors commissioned over 50 scholars from around the globe to reduce difficult theoretical formulations to straightforward statements.


Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions (Routledge, 2012) 

Film Theory: Rational Reconstructions asks a series of questions about how film theory gets written in the first place:

  • How does it select its objects of study and its methods of inquiry?

  • How does it make discoveries and explain filmic phenomena? And,

  • How does it formulate and solve theoretical problems?

The book consists of nine chapters that closely examine a series of canonical film books and essays in great detail, by Peter Wollen, Laura Mulvey, Thomas Elsaesser, Stephen Heath, and Slavoj Žižek, among others.


(ed.) Film Theory and Contemporary Hollywood Movies (Routledge, 2009) 

Contributors explore recent popular movies through the lens of film theory, beginning with industrial-economic analysis before moving into a predominately aesthetic and interpretive framework. The Hollywood films discussed cover a wide range from 300 to Fifty First Dates, from Brokeback Mountain to Lord of the Rings, from Spider-Man 3 to Fahrenheit 9/11, from Saw to Raiders of the Lost Ark.


(ed.) Puzzle Films: Complex Storytelling in Contemporary Cinema (Blackwell, 2009)

This volume examines a new storytelling epoch on contemporary cinema. It identifies and analyzes “Contemporary Puzzle Films” – a popular cycle of films from the 1990s onwards that rejects classical storytelling techniques and replaces them with techniques of complex storytelling.


The volume includes Thomas Elsaesser's seminal essay "The Mind-Game Film."

Directed by Steven Spielberg: Poetics of the Contemporary Hollywood Blockbuster
    (Continuum, 2006)


This book demonstrates the aesthetic options available to Spielberg, and particularly the choices he makes in structuring his blockbusters. It emphasizes the director's activity in making a film, including: staging and blocking the scene; selecting camera placement and movement; determining the progression or flow of the film from shot to shot; and deciding how to narrate the story to the spectator.


(with Thomas Elsaesser) Studying Contemporary American Film: A Guide to Movie

     Analysis (Hodder Education, 2002)


How should the student set about analysing contemporary American cinema? This book takes an innovative approach to film analysis: each chapter examines the assumptions behind one traditional theory of film, distils a method of analysis from it, and then analyses a contemporary American movie. It then goes beyond the traditional theory by analysing the same movie using a more current theory and method.


The Cognitive Semiotics of Film (Cambridge University Press, 2000) 


Examining and developing the work of 'cognitive film semiotics', a neglected branch of film theory that combines the insights of cognitive science with those of linguistics and semiotics, this book investigates Michel Colin's cognitive semantic theory of film; Francesco Casetti and Christian Metz's theories of film enunciation; Roger Odin's cognitive-pragmatic film theory; and Michel Colin and Dominique Chateau's cognitive studies of film syntax, which are viewed within the framework of Noam Chomsky's transformational generative grammar.

(ed.) The Film Spectator: From Sign to Mind (Amsterdam University Press, 1995)


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