Peter Wollen

Peter Wollen (born 1938 in London, died 2019) was a radical filmmaker, film theorist, and screenwriter, whose crucial book, Signs and Meaning in the Cinema (1969), continues to challenge and provoke. His other books include: Readings and Writings: Semiotic Counter-Strategies (1982), the alternative history of 20th century art Raiding the Icebox (1993), Paris/Hollywood: Writings on Film (2002), and Paris/Manhattan: Writings on Art (2004), all published by Verso, as well as a BFI Classic on Singin’ in the Rain (1992). He taught film at a number of universities and was Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles. Wollen co-wrote the screenplay for Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (1975) and subsequently worked outside mainstream cinema, collaborating on six films with Laura Mulvey. His final feature film was a solo project, Friendship's Death (1987) starring Tilda Swinton as an alien who lands in Amman, Jordan, during Black September, 1970. His expansive interests included organizing paradigm-shifting art exhibitions, such as Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (with Laura Mulvey, 1982) and On the Passage of a Few People Through a Rather Brief Moment in Time: The Situationist International (with Mark Francis, 1989). (2020)

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Riddles of the Sphinx


A film by Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, 1977, 92 min., Color
Laura Mulvey, author of the seminal essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema , helped to establish feminist film theory as a legitimate field...

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