In this article, I offer a response to Todd Berliner’s splendid book Hollywood Aesthetic. Although the book is an innovative and well-crafted contribution to the study of Hollywood cinema, I argue that it underestimates the extent to which unity and coherence contribute to the aesthetic value of a film.
Frederick Luis Aldama
This article at once celebrates and puts at cautionary arm's length the tremendous advances made in the cognitive and neurosciences as research that can deepen our understanding of creating and consuming of literature, films, comic books. After providing an overview of recent insights by scholars with one foot in the humanities and the other in the cognitive and neurosciences, the article reflects on some key precepts that might be useful in our continued shaping of a humanities and cognitive based research program. For instance, the article explores the way authors, film directors, and artists generally not only construct artifacts that elicit positive emotions but also negative emotions. It also proposes a model for understanding how the “aesthetic” is a relation and not a property nor an essence of the object (a film) nor something to be found in the subject (us viewing the film).
Christopher Blake Evernden, Cynthia A. Freeland, Thomas Schatz and Frank P. Tomasulo
Rikke Schubart, Mastering Fear: Women, Emotions, and Contemporary Horror (New York: Bloomsbury, 2018), 384 pp., $117 (hardback), ISBN: 9781501336713.
Xavier Aldana Reyes, Horror Film and Affect: Towards a Corporeal Model of Viewership (New York: Routledge, 2016), xii + 206 pp., $49.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9781138599611.
David Bordwell, Reinventing Hollywood: How 1940s Filmmakers Changed Movie Storytelling (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), 592 pp., $30.00 (paperback), ISBN: 9780226639550.
Todd Berliner, Hollywood Aesthetic: Pleasure in American Cinema (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2017), 320 pp., $39.95 (paperback), ISBN: 9780190658755.
In conversation with Carl Plantinga’s persuasive account of emotion and the ethics of engagement in Screen Stories, this article considers how audiences engage with film and television in an emotive, evaluative manner that is mediated by technology. Because sensory experience and immersive technologies set screen media apart from forms of storytelling such as literature and because technological developments affect the formal strategies of screen media, I argue that the distinctiveness of and differences between film and television warrant attention. I focus on the ethical implications of sustained engagement with immersive narratives and technologies in contemporary television and algorithmic culture.
In this overview and discussion of my recent book, I outline its major topics and arguments and ruminate on its purpose, its implications, and possible objections to the very idea of an ethics of screen stories. Screen stories are narratives that appear on screens, and in this book I focus on long-form screen stories. The book has three parts. Part I develops a theory of the persuasive or rhetorical power of screen stories. Part 2 argues that while one dominant response to that power in film and media studies has been what I call “estrangement theory,” it is in fact an “engagement theory” that offers more promise for the development of an ethics of screen storytelling. Part 3 examines some of the contours of engagement, or, in other words, some of the means by which screen stories engage the viewer in ethical thinking and moral persuasion. There, I focus on character engagement, narrative structure (and especially endings), and narrative paradigm scenarios.
Margrethe Bruun Vaage and Gabriella Blasi
Jason Mittell, Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling (New York: New York University Press, 2015), x + 390 pp., £27 (paperback). ISBN: 978-0-8147-6960-7. Reviewed by Margrethe Bruun Vaage Gaps “define the serial
Edited by Stephen Prince
popularity. We close with book reviews of Jason Mittell’s Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling , and Moving Environments: Affect, Emotion, Ecology and Film , edited by Alexa Weik von Mossner. — Stephen Prince
A Cognitive Approach to the Experience of Narrative Complexity in Film
Veerle Ros and Miklós Kiss
cinematic storytelling that we consider to be “complex.” Using the PECMA flow model as our basis, we will show how the experience of complexity arises out of a confrontation with unfamiliar, complicating plot devices that disrupt the embodied viewing process
The Role of Situational (Dis)continuity and Conceptual Metaphor in the Understanding of Complex Cases of Character Perception
Maarten Coëgnarts, Miklós Kiss, Peter Kravanja and Steven Willemsen
toward narrative forms that evade the conventions of classical storytelling while instead embracing such techniques as nonlinearity, time loops, subjective modes of narration, and fragmented spatio-temporal reality. 1 In order to characterize this trend
attributes some kind of causality to events, then a function of narratives that stress these metaphysical dissonances is to offer an antidote to telic certitude, presumed to be at the heart of dominant storytelling modes ( Thompson 1999 ). In lieu of coherent