How Motion Shapes Thought in Cinema

The Embodied Film Style of Éric Rohmer

in Projections
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  • 1 University of Antwerp (Belgium)
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Abstract

This article provides an embodied study of the film style of the French filmmaker Éric Rohmer. Drawing on insights from cognitive linguistics, I first show how dynamic patterns of containment shape human thinking about relationships, a concept central to Rohmer's cinema. Second, I consider the question of how film might elicit this spatial thinking through the use of such cinematic devices as mobile framing and fixed-frame movement. Third, using Rohmer's Comedies and Proverbs series as a case study, I demonstrate how the filmmaker applies these devices—and with them the spatial thinking they initiate—systemically to shape the relationships of his films visually. Lastly, I use the results of this analysis to provide discussion and suggestions for future research.

Contributor Notes

Maarten Coëgnarts holds a PhD in Film Studies and Visual Culture and an MA in Sociology (University of Antwerp, Belgium). Since 2010 he has researched the interplay between embodied cognition, metaphor and cinema. The results have been published in Image [&] Narrative, New Review of Film and Television Studies, Projections: The Journal for Movies and Mind, Cinéma & Cie, Metaphor and Symbol and Metaphor and the Social World. He is co-editor of the book Embodied Cognition and Cinema (Leuven University Press, 2015) and author of the book Film as Embodied Art: Bodily Meaning in the Cinema of Stanley Kubrick (Academic Studies Press, 2019).

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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