Mr. Hulot's Invisible Gorilla

Jacques Tati and Inattentional Blindness

in Projections
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  • 1 Bucknell University, USA efaden@bucknell.edu
  • 2 Bucknell University, USA adm018@bucknell.edu
  • 3 PhD Student, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA acm026@bucknell.edu
  • 4 Upper Elementary Teacher, TMS School, Philadelphia, USA tmyers@themontessorischool.us
  • 5 Bucknell University, USA nathan.ryan@bucknell.edu
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Abstract

This article examines the work of mid-century French filmmaker Jacques Tati. Tati suggested that his films allow more visual freedom to audiences and that audiences discover new material upon multiple viewings of his films. We review the scholarship on Tati, especially in relation to critic André Bazin's theories of realism, and then propose another model for understanding Tati's films: the psychological concept of inattentional blindness. The article then discusses our experiment using eye tracking technology to study how subjects watch Tati's films versus other types of cinema and also how they re-watch films. Finally, we applied several statistical and mathematical tests to the eye tracking data to understand key differences between Tati's films and other filmmaking practices.

Contributor Notes

Eric Faden is a Professor of Film/Media Studies at Bucknell University. His research has appeared in Early Popular Visual Culture, Strategies, Convergence, The Journal of Film and Video plus the anthologies Arrêt Sur Image and The Routledge Companion to Remix Studies. Faden also creates videographic works that explore how scholarly research might appear as visual media. These experimental films are distributed commercially (Third World Newsreel, Media Education Foundation), published in online journals (Vectors, Mediascape, The Cine-Files, and [in]Transition), and screen internationally (The Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart, Tasmania, and the Contemporary Culture Center in Montpellier, France). E-mail: efaden@bucknell.edu

Aaron Mitchel is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Bucknell University. His research investigates how mechanisms underlying early stages of speech perception and language development operate within a multisensory environment. His recent work has focused on building models of individual differences in basic perceptual and cognitive mechanisms and how variability in these low-level domains may correspond to broader social functioning in the general (i.e., non-clinical) population. E-mail: adm018@bucknell.edu

Alexander Murph is a Statistics PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He first began collaborating on Visual Disturbances when he was an undergraduate at Bucknell University and continued to collaborate after graduating. His current research interests are in generalized fiducial inference, Gaussian graphical models, and fiducial perspectives on Bayesian model selection. Murph is a long-time fan of everything Film/Media Studies and enjoys connecting his interest in statistics with his passion for movies. E-mail: acm026@bucknell.edu

Taylor Myers is currently an Upper Elementary Teacher at TMS School in Philadelphia. Before graduating with her B.A. in Psychology and Education, she was involved in various qualitative and quantitative research endeavors. She is currently pursuing other teaching certifications and a M.A. in Education. E-mail: tmyers@themontessorischool.us

Nathan Ryan is Professor of Mathematics at Bucknell University. He received his PhD in 2005. His training is in the computational aspects of L-functions and modular forms and in this area is particularly interested in Siegel modular forms and their L-functions. More recently he has become involved in a variety of interdisciplinary data-intensive projects to which he can apply his training in computational mathematics. E-mail: nathan.ryan@bucknell.edu

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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