If Critics can use the artist's statements as evidence for their interpretation, artists versed in interpretative procedures can use the critics.David Bordwell, in Making Meaning: Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema, 1989.
A complete list of topoi* at work in film interpretation would run very long, but let me pick out a few which have given pleasure over the years.
- A critically significant film is ambiguous, or polysemous, or dialogical.
- A critically significant film is strikingly novel in subject, theme, style, or form.
- A critically significant film takes up an oppositional relation to tradition (old version: ironic; new version: subversive).
- A film should make its audience work.
- Putting characters in the same frame unites them; cutting stresses opposition.
- Montage is opposed to mise-en-scène, or camera movement.
- The first viewing is different from later viewings.
- Lumière is opposed to Méliès.
- The image always escapes verbal paraphrase (old version: through richness; new version: through excess or plenitude).
- The filmmaker in question is not solely a master of technique; the film also harbors profound meanings.
- In the artist's late period, technique is thrown aside and the work becomes simpler, more schematic, and more profound.
- The film asks a question but doesn't answer it.
- The film is a reflection or meditation on a sophisticated philosophical or political issue.
- The film is Shakespearian (Anglo-American version) or Racinian (French) or Faulknerian (either).
- The film's style is so exaggerated that it must be ironic or parodic (useful for Sirk, late Vidor, Visconti, Ken Russell, and so on).
- Previous interpretations of the film are inadequate, if not downright wrong.
* Topos (plural: topoi) : literally "common place".
a traditional theme or rhetorical motif or literary convention