Communicative Functions of Performer Expressiveness and Their Artistic and Aesthetic Aspects: Analysis of a Scene from Smiles of a Summer Night

in Projections
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  • 1 University of Copenhagen johriis@hum.ku.dk
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Abstract

In order to understand the functions of performer expressiveness in film narratives, we need to draw on multiple conceptualizations of emotions. By viewing emotions in terms of their objects, rather than of their distinct expressions, we may understand how, for example, a pause during line delivery can suggest rich character emotions. In an analysis of an Ingmar Bergman scene from Smiles of a Summer Night (1955), I show how acting styles serve different purposes, such as invoking emotional implications of what has been put in place in the narrative. I discuss how artistic constraints and aesthetic considerations, such as acting norms and the need for balance among parts, provides a supplementary explanation of performer expressiveness.

Contributor Notes

Johannes Riis is Associate Professor of film studies at the University of Copenhagen and has published on film acting in numerous journals, encyclopedias, and anthologies. He is the author of a book on emotions and acting (Spillets kunst: Følelser i film, 2003) and is currently working on a study on the history of film acting styles since the 1920s. E-mail: johriis@hum.ku.dk

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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