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Omnibus Films

Theorizing Transauthorial Cinema

David Scott Diffrient

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The first book-length exploration of internationally distributed, multi-director episode films

Omnibus films bring together the contributions of two or more filmmakers. Does this make them inherently contradictory texts? How do they challenge critical categories in cinema studies? What are their implications for auteur theory?

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Part I: Historical and Theoretical Perspectives
1. ‘Beginnings without Ends’: Conceptual Parameters and the Critical Discourses of Episodic Cinema
2. A Cinema of Regulated Variety and Excess: Antecedents and Extensions of Episodic Cinema
3. Key Concepts in Transauthorial Cinema: Abundance, Change, Containment, and Order
4. Key Concepts in Film Studies: Audience, Authorship, Genre, and Nation
Part II: Get on the Omnibus: Case Studies in Transauthorial Cinema
5. Wartime Consensus Pictures and the ‘Housing’ of History: From Forever and a Day to Dead of Night
6. Three Cases of Maugham: Quartet, Trio, and Encore
7. Episodic Erotics and the Politics of Place: From Love in the City to Love and Anger
8. Collective Opposition, Political Participation, and Worldwide Competition: From Visions of Eight to Visions of Europe
9. The Recent Revival of the Omnibus Film: From Paris, je t’aime to 11’09”01

About the Author

David Scott Diffrient is William E. Morgan Endowed Chair of Liberal Arts and Associate Professor of Film and Media Studies in the Department of Communication Studies at Colorado State University. He is the author of a book on the television series M*A*S*H (Wayne State University Press, 2008) and the editor of a volume on the “screwball” TV series Gilmore Girls (Syracuse University Press, 2010).


Accused as either "ramshackle" filmmaking or acclaimed for savvy "acuteness and prankishness," the under-appreciated "omnibus" film is rewardingly studied here by David Scott Diffrient. Described as a "meta-genre", Diffrient precisely and comprehensively discusses these films’ rich history and their transauthorial dynamic aesthetics. By doing so, Omnibus Films: Theorizing Transauthorial Cinema situates the unique place in film history that these films hold.

- Professor David A. Gerstner, Professor of Cinema Studies, City University of New York

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