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Carl Plantinga

Film scholars, critics, filmmakers, and audiences all routinely employ intuitive, untutored "folk psychology" in viewing, interpreting, critiquing, and making films. Yet this folk psychology receives little attention in film scholarship. This article argues that film scholars ought to pay far more attention to the nature and uses of folk psychology. Turning to critical work on Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho, the article demonstrates the diverse and sometimes surprising ways that folk psychology is used in criticism. From an evolutionary perspective, the article defends the critic's and audience's interests in characters as persons. It also defends folk psychology against some of its most vocal detractors, and provides some guidance into how cognitive film theorists might employ folk psychology, arguing that such employment must supplement and correct folk psychology with scientific psychology and philosophical analysis. Finally, the article argues that the application of folk psychology to films is a talent, a skill, and a sensitivity rather than a science.

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A Structure of Antipathy

Constructing the Villain in Narrative Film

Jens Kjeldgaard-Christiansen


Many narrative films feature villains, major characters that audiences are meant to condemn. This article investigates the cognitive-affective underpinnings of audience antipathy in order to shed light on how filmic villainy is constructed. To that end, the article introduces an analytical framework at the intersection of cognitive film theory and moral psychology. The framework analyzes villainy into three categories: guilty intentionality, consequential action, and causal responsibility.

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Consuming Katniss

Spectacle and Spectatorship in The Hunger Games

Samantha Poulos

readers Katniss is, at least in part, an assemblage of fantasies about girlhood … . The Hunger Games , like speculation in general is not instructive but aspirational” (98). Katniss, they suggest, should not be understood merely as a novel or film

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Beyond the Individual Body

Spinoza's Radical Enactivism and You Were Never Really Here

Francesco Sticchi

and film characters can lead to the various outcomes, with the former negating, rejecting, or ironically detaching themselves from the inhabitants of the storyworld or, on the contrary, generating strong affective bonds and mechanisms of allegiance due

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Katherine Thomson-Jones

-theoretical debate on our engagement with film characters. This is particularly clear in Chapter 7 as new ideas emerge. Given that this is primarily a book about methodology, the development of new ideas in aesthetics is not its focus. In the service of recommending

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“Mind the Gap”

Between Movies and Mind, Affective Neuroscience, and the Philosophy of Film

Jane Stadler

“direct, experiential form of understanding” of other people’s (or film characters’) actions and emotions (100). In terms of the aforementioned triangulation of perspectives, the mirror neuron system “is the neural substrate that ‘implements’ our

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Philip J. Hohle

ahead ( Dervin 2003a , 2003b). This perspective acknowledges the considerable authority of the viewer to judge film characters and interpret events as needed to get past it, to move on, and perhaps even resume the enjoyment of a film. The methodology

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Transitions Within Queer North African Cinema

Nouri Bouzid, Abdellah Taïa, and the Transnational Tourist

Walter S. Temple

relations between European and North African film characters. To recall my discussion on cartographies of queer desire, Bouzid’s and Taïa’s films point to a rewriting of earlier episodes described by both French and Arab writers who linger in the background

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Marie Puysségur

-ended, thus extending the fluidity of the filmscharacters to their own narrative and aesthetic form. Both films avoid a fixity of meaning: Mia and Marieme leave the estate behind, but their destination is uncertain. Sciamma, writes Emma Wilson, leaves

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Robert Sinnerbrink and Matthew Cipa

“importance is size/volume” conceptual metaphor (215–217). While previous chapters, and a wealth of film scholarship, are devoted to the emotional connection between spectators and films and film characters, this discussion adapts the embodied cognition