previous scenes or shared norms. Whether the actor employs distinct or indistinct expressiveness with regard to particular emotions may tell us more about how the kind of patterns and configurations at work in the communication of character emotions than a
This issue of Projections focuses on movie violence, a topic of continuing controversy. Concerns about screen violence are not new. Because of their visceral power, popular appeal, and the seeming ease with which they bypassed established channels and norms of socialization, movies swiftly drew the attention and scorn of social critics and reformers. The city of Chicago passed the nation’s first movie censorship ordinance in 1907. Numerous state and municipal censor boards were established in its wake, and movie violence drove the first court-adjudicated censorship case in American film history. The James Boys in Missouri (1908) and Night Riders (1908) were Westerns that Chicago authorities deemed to be immoral because they concentrated on showing the exploits of violent outlaws. The Chicago reformers felt that the films lacked an appropriate moral balance in failing to devote sufficient attention to law-abiding characters.
Taking Hum Aapke Hain Koun . . . ! as an example, this article asks whether models that were developed for the analysis of narrative forms and their intended emotional effects in Hollywood cinema can be regarded as universal, and to what extent they may be reasonably applied to commercial Hindi films. The often voiced reproach that Hindi cinema lacks realism, usually accompanied by a critique of the excessive use of emotional cues, arises in part from the fact that scholars tend to view the narrative forms of Western mainstream cinema as the norm from which Hindi cinema deviates. By contrast, this article argues that we need to search for a proper understanding of a cinema whose films follow different rules. In so doing, this article also contributes to the debate on how cognitive models of film reception may be expanded to include culturalist elements of explanation.
This article questions the standard history being constructed about the adoption of digital cinematography in commercial cinema, a narrative whose broad assumptions resonate with industry professionals, including cinematographers. Digital image acquisition is frequently taken to be motivated by an industrial push to cut production costs, which impinges on the creative autonomy of film artists. This perception overlooks parts of Hollywood's current business model concerning production values and theatrical exhibition that will sustain film cinematography in the foreseeable future. These findings then lead the article to address filmmakers and critics who fear that photorealist aesthetics will be supplanted by digital images that possess a different visual signature. Prognostications that the digital look will replace that of film as the norm appear inaccurate.
This article outlines a conceptual framework for analyzing meta-emotions in audiovisual media. Meta-emotions are evaluative thoughts and feelings about emotions that are represented and/or elicited in the viewer. Based on a conceptual analysis of meta-emotion in terms of current emotion theory the essay concludes that meta-emotions are communicated on different levels of cognitive complexity. Cues to meta-emotion can be present in (1) the aesthetic representation of emotions; (2) the narrative context of emotions; and (3) symbolic elements that refer to cultural norms and values concerning emotions. The essay exemplifies this three-level framework using a film scene and a music video. Specifically, the essay analyzes the communication of meta-emotions about anger in Fight Club, and meta-emotions about sadness in Frozen.
As the subtitle of the journal indicates, the intersection of movies and mind is a key theme of our coverage. First up in this issue is Jeffrey Zacks’s wide-ranging discussion of how our brains process the sights and sounds of motion pictures. He gives us a précis of his new book, Flicker: Your Brain on Movies, which aims to introduce a wide audience to the psychology and neuroscience that underlie our experience of motion pictures. He discusses the ways viewers parse narratives and build models of story events, perceive shot changes,
respond emotionally to fictional situations, and recall filmic information, and he ends by speculating about the future of virtual entertainment. In some not-too-distant future, will movies jack directly into our central nervous system? The readership of Projections is a key constituency of the research that guides Zacks’s discussion. His contribution differs a little from our usual style. Because it derives from a book that he has aimed at a broad audience, the tone of the writing is a bit more informal than is the norm in scholarly venues. Our readers should find the discussion both lively and fascinating. I am grateful to Jeff for providing us with this overview of his work.
makes a historical argument about the modes of narration that have existed in narrative cinema, and clarifies their norms. Along the way, he offers numerous critical insights into the work of major filmmakers, such as Jansco and Bresson (the chapter on
shortcomings I encountered in writing other books. My previous project, a book undertaken with Kristin Thompson and Janet Staiger, sought to explain the emergence and maintenance of the most powerful artistic norm in film history, that of Hollywood “classical
roots in physically recoiling from potential bodily threats like poisons or parasites—for the purposes of enforcing sociomoral norms and values (2009: 207). Under such a theoretical formulation, some versions of sociomoral disgust could cause individuals
mirror neurons is much more controversial than I allow, and that my appeal to it violates an epistemic norm of naturalism—that we should draw on the best available knowledge in a given domain. (More on this objection below.) Friend (45) and Levinson (64