This article presents a new method to create maps that chart changes across a cinematic narrative. These are unlike narrative spaces previously discussed in the literature—they are abstract, holistic, dynamic representations based on objective criteria. The analysis considers three films (All About Eve, Inception, and MASH) by counting the co-occurrences of main characters within scenes, and 12 Angry Men by counting their co-occurrences within shots. The technique used combines the statistical methods of correlation, multidimensional scaling, and Procrustes analysis. It then plots the trajectories of characters across these spaces in All About Eve and Inception, regions for characters in Inception and MASH, and compares the physical arrangement of jurors with their dramatic roles in 12 Angry Men. These maps depict the changing structures in the visual narrative. Finally, through consideration of statistical learning, the article explores the plausibility that these maps mimic relations in the minds of film viewers.
James E. Cutting, Catalina Iricinschi, and Kaitlin L. Brunick
Crossing Boundaries in New Disability Documentary Cinema
Documentary film has traditionally perpetuated damaging cultural understandings of disability. However, Astra Taylor’s Examined Life (2008) and Bonnie Sherr Klein’s Shameless: The Art of Disability (2006) utilize documentary techniques to problematize the culturally constructed boundary between disability and able-bodiedness. Spectators are dragged into simultaneously traditional and innovative relationships with the spaces, bodies, and lives inhabited by the documentaries’ disabled subjects. These relationships encourage connection and intimacy even as they contain moments of distance and alienation. The films’ ambivalent representations foster an appreciation of disabled bodies as a reflection of valuable human diversity and a denaturalization of disability’s Otherness. As examples of new disability documentary cinema, the documentaries reflect the political potential of complex and affective representations of disabled subjects.
Film studies inspired by the theories of British psychoanalyst Donald W. Winnicott are scanty. Although this may be partly explained by Winnicott's own somewhat unenthusiastic attitude toward cinema, it should be fruitful to approach film, in both its form and content, by taking into consideration the relevance of some of his ideas. These include in particular the concepts of mirroring and transitional space, especially in relation to the idea of a bridge space connecting external reality to its filmed representation, as well as the latter to reality as perceived by the viewer's gaze. Winnicott's developmental model of mental processes could prove useful for an understanding of the structural and functional characteristics of cinema, as well as for providing original interpretations of individual films.
Director Steve McQueen's 2008 film Hunger employs strategies of narrative fracture in its account of the 1981 Northern Irish hunger strikes. Through the formal devices of ellipsis and descriptive pause, the film creates space for viewer reflection on, and immersion in, the emotions associated with trauma and loss. Looking at these formal devices as emotion cues, and considering the film as a case study in the cognitive study of film, this article offers an 'emotional reading' of Hunger.
chairs we sit on are closely packed together to maximize audience space, and yet even as I bang elbows with those on either side of me and feel my knees pressed up against the seat in front of me, the excited and jovial mood of the surrounding crowd
Situating Narration in the Fiction Film in the Context of Theories of Narrative Comprehension
Joseph P. Magliano and James A. Clinton
, which are linked via semantic relationships such as time, space, and causality (e.g., Van Dijk and Kintch 1983 ). Part of the fall of schema-dominant theories of comprehension came from the realization that many of these relationships required inference
Ethical Experience, Trauma, and History
affect, I will focus on how affectively laden cinematic experience offers a positive space for viewers to individually engage in ethical negotiation, reflection, and contemplation that may otherwise be impossible. This is particularly significant in the
Richard Allen and Ira Bhaskar
This article describes how Kamal Amrohi's Pakeezah distils the idioms of the historical courtesan film, poised as they are between the glorification of courtesan culture and lamenting the debased status of the courtesan; between a nostalgic yearning for the feudal world of the kotha and a utopian desire to escape from it. The article argues that Pakeezah self-consciously defines the particular “chronotope”, or space-time, of the historical courtesan genre by showing that nothing less than a transformation of the idioms of that genre is required to liberate the courtesan from her claustrophobic milieu—whose underlying state is one of enervation and death—into the open space and lived time of modernity.
Daniel T. Levin and Caryn Wang
Levin and Simons (2000) argued that perceptual experience in film and the real world share a deep similarity in that both rely on inferences that visual properties are stable across views. This article argues that the perception and representation of visual space also reveal deep commonalities between film and the real world. The article reviews psychological research on visual space that suggests that we not only attend to similar spatial cues both in film and in nonmediated settings, but also that the rules for combining and selecting among these cues are similar. In exploring these links, it becomes clear that there is a bidirectional relationship between cognitive psychology and film editing that allows each to provide important insights about the other.
Tim J. Smith
The intention of most film editing is to create the impression of continuity by editing together discontinuous viewpoints. The continuity editing rules are well established yet there exists an incomplete understanding of their cognitive foundations. This article presents the Attentional Theory of Cinematic Continuity (AToCC), which identifies the critical role visual attention plays in the perception of continuity across cuts and demonstrates how perceptual expectations can be matched across cuts without the need for a coherent representation of the depicted space. The theory explains several key elements of the continuity editing style including match-action, matchedexit/entrances, shot/reverse-shot, the 180° rule, and point-of-view editing. AToCC formalizes insights about viewer cognition that have been latent in the filmmaking community for nearly a century and demonstrates how much vision science in general can learn from film.