Films That Move Us: Moments of Narrative Impact in an Animated Short Film

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This article investigates the effects of films on an audience, using an interdisciplinary empirical approach connecting film analysis and psychophysiological measurement. It discusses the animated short film Father and Daughter (2000) directed by Michael Dudok de Wit. The features of the film that are relevant to the reception process, the so-called moments of narrative impact, are determined on the basis of Wuss's analytical film model. The model postulates that films can be described as a combination of different kinds of narrative structures that predetermine the reception, which is conceptualized as a process of problem solving. This article defines five moments of narrative impact. Three of these moments establish the main conflict and its possible solution while the other two combine reoccurring motives, the so-called topic lines. Heart rate and skin conductance reactions were examined for thirty participants. The results of heart rate measurements demonstrate a clear significance for a combination of topic lines. The establishment of the central conflict also evokes significant reactions.

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind