Focusing on the interwar writings of the film journalist and theorist Béla Balázs, this article argues for an understanding of Balázs’s film aesthetics as grounded in a popular politics of the body. Balázs understood film as a medium in which experiences of image, sound, and expressive movement and gesture shape human subjectivities within a newly mediatized social realm. The article explores Balázs’s consequent plea for a film politics of popular embodiment and asks what a survey of Balázs’s writings as both critic and theorist tell us about the political valences of his film theory now.

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