彼得·沃伦 曾在牛津大学学习英文。既是政治记者，也是电影理论家。他1969年的著作Signs and Meaning in the Cinema是标志着结构主义进入电影理论的代表作。
British screenwriter and filmmaker Peter Wollen began working in films as the co-writer of Antonioni’s The Passenger in 1975. From there he helped direct a few experimental features with the support of the British Film Institute, making his solo feature-film directorial debut in 1987 with Friendship’s Death, a science fiction film about an alien girl who crashes in war-torn Jordan. Wollen first gained attention as a noted British film theorist and author of Signs and Meaning in the Cinema, one of the seminal works on structuralist theory.
Wollen’s first film credit was as co-writer of Michelangelo Antonioni’s The Passenger (Professione: Reporter, Italy, 1975) and he made his debut as a director with Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974), the first of six films co-written and co-directed with his wife, Laura Mulvey. The low-budget Penthesilea portrayed women’s language and mythology as silenced by patriarchal structures. Acknowledging the influence of Jean-Luc Godard’s Le Gai savoir (France, 1968), Wollen intended the film to fuse avant-garde and radically political elements. The resultant work is innovative in the context of British cinema history, although unsurprisingly its relentlessly didactic approach did not make for mass appeal.
For Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), their most remarkable collaborative work, Wollen and Mulvey obtained a BFI Production Board grant, which enabled them to work with greater technical resources. Rewriting the Oedipal myth from a female standpoint, they use formal devices, such as their impressively choreographed circular pans, to create an expressionist effect which complicates and enhances the film’s narrative content.
The deliberately ahistorical AMY! (1980), commemorating Amy Johnson’s solo flight from Britain to Australia, synthesises themes previously covered by Wollen and Mulvey. In Crystal Gazing (1982) formal experimentation is muted and narrative concerns emphasised. The film was criticised in some quarters for the absence of an explicitly feminist perspective, but it enjoyed generally favourable reviews. Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982), a short film tied to an international art exhibition curated by Wollen, and The Bad Sister (1982), a drama based on a novel by Emma Tennant, were the final projects on which Wollen and Mulvey collaborated.
Wollen’s only solo feature, Friendship’s Death (1987), was the bizarre and absorbing story of the relationship between a British war correspondent and a female extraterrestrial robot on a peace mission to Earth, who, missing her intended destination of MIT, lands inadvertently in Amman, Jordan during the events of ‘Black September’ 1970. The film’s intelligent wit, coupled with outstanding performances from Tilda Swinton and Bill Paterson, makes this Wollen’s most compelling film.
[]和1982年间，Peter Wollen同妻子[[劳拉·穆尔维]]合写/合编了六部先锋电影， dealing in the discourse of feminist theory, semiotics, psychoanalysis and leftist politics. The first of these, Penthesilea: Queen of the Amazons (1974) explored concerns central to Mulvey’s writings: the position of women in relation to patriarchal myth, symbolic language and male fantasy. Penthesilea represents an experimental British venture into territory pioneered by the likes of Jean-Luc Godard. With its counter-cinema style and relentlessly didactic approach, however, its appeal was inevitably limited to a restricted audience.
The most influential of Mulvey and Wollen’s collaborative films, Riddles of the Sphinx (1977), presented avant-garde film as a space in which female experience could be expressed. Remarkable formalistic innovation, notably 360-degree pans, inform the film’s content, describing the mother’s loss of and search for identity. The result is a challenging, forceful and intelligent film.
AMY! (1980), a tribute to Amy Johnson, is a more accessible reworking of themes previously covered by Mulvey and Wollen, but it is ponderous and slow. Far from a conventional biopic, the aviator is used as a symbolic figure, her journey exemplifying the transitions between female and male worlds required by women struggling towards achievement in the public sphere.
Crystal Gazing (1982) represented a departure from the emphatic formalism of Mulvey and Wollen’s earlier films. It demonstrated more spontaneity than previous works, both in performances and in the storyline, elements of which were left undecided until the moment of filming. Bleak, but with playful touches, this representation of London during the Thatcher recession was generally well received, despite criticism of Mulvey for the lack of a feminist underpinning to the film. She admitted she had been reluctant to incorporate feminist polemics fearing they would unbalance the film.
Frida Kahlo and Tina Modotti (1982) and The Bad Sister (1982) followed, revisiting feminist film issues.
Wollen has taught film at a number of universities and is Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Los Angeles.