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Stephen Prince

This issue of Projections ranges across the avant-garde cinema, tear-jerking melodramas, the nature of historical trauma, and narratives that assume playful, game-like formats and that may be found in title sequences and trailers.

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Stephen Prince

The topic of violence in moving image media has retained its salience and controversies over several decades, and Stuart Bender returns our interest to the subject in his analysis of depictions of war violence in movies and video games. Bender is a working filmmaker as well as a scholar and university educator. This combination of skill sets enables him to blend a filmmaker’s attention to the craft of creating moving images with a scholar’s attention to the historical, theoretical, and cultural contexts in which moving images circulate and are produced. He is interested in why viewers describe certain depictions as being realistic even under circumstances in which various elements of cinematic style take those depictions away from the known contexts where battlefield violence occurs. He compares Hollywood films from the classical and modern eras with video games in order to advance a conception of realism based on viewers’ perceptions of the accretion of detail within the surface design of shots and scenes. He situates what he terms “reported realism” with reference to existing traditions of realist theory in cinema.

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Stephen Prince

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.

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Stephen Prince

If people generally do a poor job of recognizing liars, it is interesting that so many movies employ deceptive characters. Duplicity and prevarication are common plot devices whereby scheming characters maneuver to get their way. Such movies often rely on viewers’ abilities to recognize the deception at hand. Does this represent a disconnect between movies and life, with viewers tasked in one arena with a skill set that doesn’t seem to function well in the other?

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Stephen Prince

David Bordwell’s Narration in the Fiction Film is one of the groundbreaking books in film and narrative theory, and it has been thirty years since its original publication. We begin this issue with a symposium marking that book’s importance for the field. Scholars from cognitive science, literature, philosophy, and film studies assess the book’s impact. Its author, David Bordwell, replies to their remarks and shares his contemporary perspective on the book. I thank the participants in this symposium and especially Malcolm Turvey for his efforts to organize it.

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Stephen Prince

In this issue of Projections, Dan Flory examines issues of race in film from a singular angle. He is interested in understanding how disgust reactions, manifested by viewers in relation to characters and situations, are inflected by racial dimensions of meaning and experience. Examining a wide range of films, he approaches the issue from the perspective of analytic philosophy and argues that the ways that viewers embody their sense of race through disgust reactions has implications for cognitive film theory.

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Stephen Prince

Opening this issue of Projections is a provocative article by Ted Nannicelli exploring the myriad ways viewers today may encounter movies and the issues these modes of encounter pose for conceptions of cinema that emphasize a fixed, large-screen format. One of the ironies of cinema history is that, for most of its lifetime, cinema was seen as a big-screen medium, and many of its stylistic features evolved accordingly. Now, though, small screens proliferate, and many viewers find these to be perfectly acceptable ways of viewing films. The medium’s evolution into small, capsulized viewing formats challenges some of our aesthetic and pedagogical assumptions, and Nannicelli explores these in detail.

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Stephen Prince

Six years ago, I became editor of Projections, succeeding Ira Konigsberg, who had conceived of this journal and launched it with Berghahn as publisher. Projections was then and remains now a unique journal, conjoining work on cinema from a diverse range of disciplines addressing the cognitive and emotional areas where movies meet viewers. These six years have gone by very fast, and the current issue will be my last one as editor. I have greatly enjoyed serving the journal and helping to shepherd new works into print. Now, though, it is time to ride on. Berghahn is a wonderful publisher with whom to work, and my coeditors—Todd Berliner, Ted Nannicelli, and Carl Plantinga— helped to make producing the journal a very rewarding experience. Ted will be assuming the post of editor with the next issue, and I know that he will do a fi ne job. I am grateful to all with whom I have worked and to whom I extend a hearty “thank you.”

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Stephen Prince

Digital visual effects bridge art and science in ways that have expanded the expressive tools available to filmmakers. Digital imaging also has enlarged a domain for realism in cinema based on indexical and perceptual factors. Examining these factors, the article questions the visual skepticism that often surrounds discussion of visual effects in film studies. A conjunction of art and science has characterized cinema throughout its history, especially in the era of “philosophical toys” from which the medium originated. The article examines that era in light of what it suggests about digital imaging today and the aesthetic forms that it enables.

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Stephen Prince

When Sam Peckinpah turned over his raw footage for Ride the High Country

(1962) to the MGM studio editor, she declared that the material he had filmed

for the final gunfight was incompetent and that it could not be edited together

in a coherent way. Viewed today, the scene does not seem especially

transgressive in its treatment of continuity, but in that earlier period when

studio editing rules were more conservative, Peckinpah’s disregard for standardized

camera set-ups and conventional coverage perplexed and infuriated

MGM’s editor.