College of Communication Master of Arts Theses

Date of Award

Summer 8-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Media and Cinema Studies

First Advisor

Michael DeAngelis

Second Advisor

Luisela Alvaray


This thesis applies Jean-Paul Sartre’s early philosophy of consciousness and ego to two main concepts of Jean-Louis Baudry’s theory of the cinematic apparatus. The first of these concepts, the “transcendental subject,” is denoted by Baudry as the conflation of Cartesian philosophy and technology which ensures the transmission of representational knowledge in line with a historically dominant optical ideology. Since Sartre criticizes the transcendental phenomenology of Husserl in ways similar to Baudry’s work, his structures and levels of consciousness apply well to the enforced cohesion of the transcendental subject, and impart a hitherto lacking cohesion to the concept. Following from a clear structuration of the transcendental subject, the thesis then moves to the “more-than-real,” or the impression of reality found in dream that is then objectively staged in the apparatus. For Baudry, dream enacts the desire to endure unconscious representation in the same manner as waking perception, this desire itself stemming from a wish to return to the pre-subjective wholeness of infancy. Cinema, then, enacts an “artificial regression,” or a simulation of the regression required for dream, in order to endure the more-than-real in waking reality. In order to explain the process of the more-than- real, the transcendental subject is then schematized in its interaction with the general projection situation and the spectator, from which is concluded that the transcendental subject engages with the spectator in order to produce for the spectator a position in which to experience “reality unfolding itself.” Finally, the implications for both materialist film, Althusserian ideology, and the notion of “apparatus” in general are briefly explored.

Included in

Communication Commons