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The Multi-Protagonist Film

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3393-0
176 pages
October 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
The Multi-Protagonist Film (1444333933) cover image


The Multi-Protagonist Film is an insightful and provocative introduction to this important new genre. 
  • Explores the origins and history of one of the most exciting new developments in contemporary film worldwide
  • Guides readers through the genre’s central characteristics and conventions, as well as it's evolution and cultural relevance
  • Provides a theoretical framework that is developed through the analysis several films, including Grand Hotel, Singles,  American Pie, Short Cuts, and Syriana. 
  • Reveals the duality of the genre's contemporary preoccupations:  the impact of globalization on human lives versus the current state of intimate affairs, the crisis of marriage, and the proliferation of sexual choices
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Table of Contents

List of Plates.



1 A Brief History of the Multi-Protagonist Film.

2 Theorizing the Multi-Protagonist Film.

3 An Early Experiment: Grand Hotel.

4 Short Cuts and the Consolidation of a Genre.

5 Adolescent Tapestries: American Pie.

6 Intimacy Multiplies: Singles.

7 Global Thrills: Syriana.




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Author Information

María del Mar Azcona teaches English and Film Studies at the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She has published articles on film genre, contemporary Hollywood cinema, and Spanish cinema, and is the author of a book on Alejandro González Iñárritu, co-written with Celestino Deleyto (2010).
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"Azcona (Univ. of Zaragoza, Spain) has written a lovely little study of films that depart from the typical focalization on a single protagonist and spread their interest over a multitude of characters. . .Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates through faculty." (Choice, 1 October 2011)


The Multi-Protagonist Film identifies historical branches, tracks narrative trends, and delineates stylistic features of this increasingly influential genre. An exhilarating, ground-breaking meditation. Kudos to Azcona!” Christine Holmlund, University of Tennessee

“What do Grand Hotel, Short Cuts and American Pie have in common? By arguing that they are all “multi-protagonist films,” María del Mar Azcona offers an exciting and fresh perspective on the study of cinema genre, making this an essential volume for film studies students and scholars.” Hilary Radner, University of Otago

“Maria del Mar Azcona has put her finger on the pulse of late 20th century and post-Millennial culture in the phenomenon of the multi-protagonist film. Through wide-ranging readings across film and cultural criticism and viewings of an imporessive repertoire of Classical and Postmodern films, Azcona has truly shed important light on an oft-remarked, but hitherto little-understood shift in both popular and serious cinema.” David Desser, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

"Maria del Mar Azcona's monograph on the multi-protagonist film is an exceptionally useful and intelligent study of a phenomenon that has become especially important in contemporary cinema. It gives us not only a sharp formal analysis of a variety of films, but also some intriguing speculations about the social and economic forces that help determine them.” James Naremore, Indiana University

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