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Shaping Edits, Creating Fractals

A Cinematic Case Study

James E. Cutting and Karen Pearlman

We investigated physical changes over three versions in the production of the short historical drama, Woman with an Editing Bench (2016, The Physical TV Company). Pearlman, the film’s director and editor, had also written about the work that editors do to create rhythms in film (Pearlman 2016), and, through the use of computational techniques employed previously (Cutting et al. 2018), we found that those descriptions of the editing process had parallels in the physical changes of the film as it progressed from its first assembled form, through a fine cut, to the released film. Basically, the rhythms of the released film are not unlike the rhythms of heartbeats, breathing, and footfalls—they share the property of “fractality.” That is, as Pearlman shaped a story and its emotional dynamics over successive revisions, she also (without consciously intending to do so) fashioned several dimensions of the film— shot duration, motion, luminance, chroma, and clutter—so as to make them more fractal.

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Karen Pearlman

This article proposes that inquiry into the cognitive complexity of film editing processes could provide insight into how edits affect audiences beyond convincing them of temporal and spatial continuity. Application of two influential theories in cognitive studies of the moving image to this inquiry suggests that editors make some decisions to maximize the smooth transference of their own attention and some in response to their own embodied simulation. However, edited sequences that do not conform precisely to the principles of maximum attentional efficiency or that significantly reshape the cinematographer’s “kinematics” (Gallese and Guerra 2012) reveal other cognitive expertise at work. Sequences generated by editors’ feeling for rhythmic phrases of movement, tension, and release create unique expressive forms in film. They require artistry of a higher order, rather than following the relatively straightforward rules of continuity cutting, and may have distinctive affective or cognitive impact on audiences.

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Ivan Mozzhukhin’s Acting Style

Beyond the Kuleshov Effect

Johannes Riis

While the Russian film actor Ivan Mozzhukhin has been recognized by film scholars such as Jean Mitry as one of the important actors of the silent screen the nature of his contributions has gone unexplained and, ironically, Mozzhukhin is perhaps best remembered for a lost experiment, presumably carried out by Lev Kuleshov around 1920, that showed how the editor can construct character emotions with shots of contextual objects. The historical record and scientific attempts to replicate the experiment indicate that we need to pay attention to Mozzhukhin’s role as performer and my study of his performances suggests that we may have to rethink long-held assumptions about the relationship between performer expressiveness and editing.

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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.

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David Gerard

A Bibliography of Books Written or Edited by John Lucas in Chronological Order

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Joerg Fingerhut

I will argue that the ambition to provide a naturalized aesthetics of film in Murray Smith’s Film, Art, and the Third Culture is not fully matched by the actual explanatory work done. This is because it converges too much on the emotional engagement with character at the expense of other features of film. I will make three related points to back up my claim. I will argue (1) that Smith does not adequately capture in what ways the phenomenon of seeing-in, introduced early in the book, could explain our complex engagement with moving images; (2) that because of this oversight he also misconstrues the role of the mirror neuron system in our engagement with filmic scenes; and (3) that an account of embodied seeing-in could be a remedy for the above. In order to demonstrate the latter point, I will show how such an account could contribute to the analysis of a central sequence in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951) that Smith also discusses.

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Paul Messaris, Cynthia Freeland, Sheena Rogers, Malcolm Turvey, Greg M. Smith, Daniel T. Levin, Alicia M. Hymel and Tim J. Smith

CONTINUITY AND ITS DISCONTENTS

Paul Messaris

CONTINUITY, NARRATIVE, AND CROSS-MODAL CUING OF ATTENTION

Cynthia Freeland

AUTEUR OF ATTENTION: THE FILMMAKER AS COGNITIVE SCIENTIST

Sheena Rogers

THE CONTINUITY OF NARRATIVE COMPREHENSION

Malcolm Turvey

CONTINUITY IS NOT CONTINUOUS

Greg M. Smith

MAKING THE CASE FOR NONPREDICTIVE CONTINUITY PERCEPTION

Daniel T. Levin and Alicia M. Hymel

EXTENDING ATOCC: A REPLY

Tim J. Smith

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Rory Loughnane

W.W. Greg first identified the dumb show in Hamlet as problematic: if Claudius sees the dumb show, which replicates his murder of Old Hamlet in mime, then why does he not react until much later? Many explanations have been offered, and this article responds to (in title and argument) John Dover Wilson’s influential account in What Happens in Hamlet (1935) which inspired much further debate. First discussing the anomalous nature of the dumb show in Hamlet, before turning to the different versions of the dumb show as they appear in the three substantive texts of Hamlet, this article considers the nature and content of the information supplied by dumb shows and the critical arguments that can be developed from these slippery inset performances.

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Carl Knight

The Global Justice Reader edited by Thom Brooks

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Bernard Dubbeld

Re-Imagining the Social in South Africa: Critique, Theory, and Post-Apartheid Society, edited by Heather Jacklin and Peter Vale