From the Editor

in Projections
Author:
Stephen Prince Virginia Tech sprince@vt.edu

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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.

Long-form television serials offer viewers opportunities for becoming attached to and involved with characters that differ from what can be achieved in a stand-alone feature film. Jason Gendler provides a detailed analysis of how character information is distributed across a long-form serial—Mad Men—with particular attention to what he calls “psychologically rich situations,” those moments where viewers are invited and enabled to make inferences about a character’s interior life. His findings about the location of information relevant for such moments—within or across episodes—is striking and counterintuitive.

Emre Çağlayan offers a provocative take on the aesthetic virtues of boredom in cinema; that is, on how the use of long takes and dedramatization can create “dead space” that elicits a contemplative stance from viewers. In its most popular modes, cinema is commonly understood as an antidote for boredom. Drawing on the work of such filmmakers as Bela Tarr, Chantal Akerman, and Nuri Ceylan, Çağlayan examines how films may aim to kill time, not in the sense of alleviating boredom, but of annihilating the narrative peaks and valleys that establish those rhythms that sustain attention.

Hava Adoulby examines experimental filmmaker Phil Solomon’s work in the context of tactile or haptic approaches to cinema. She assess his optical, chemical, and physical working processes that involve the optical printing of found materials and relates these to Solomon’s ideas about the physical anxiety of form, that is, the extent to which his films prompt tactile and somatic experiences.

Maarten Coëgnarts et al. examine certain kinds of puzzle films that break with perceptible continuities of time and space by including one or more point-of-view scenes in which a character sees events in the past or in the future or sees himself or herself in an out-of-body fashion. This kind of point-of-view editing breaks with real-life visual experience, and the authors aim to investigate the ways that viewers make sense of such scenes.

We close this issue with a pair of book reviews. Paul Taberham examines Noël Carroll’s Minerva’s Night Out and finds it to be a landmark in its field, distinguished by the clarity and acuity that are customary features of Carroll’s work on cinema. Kaitlin Brunick examines filmmaker Peter Wyeth’s The Matter of Vision, in which Wyeth argues in favor of a visual understanding of cinema in place of the long tradition of using language as a means of accessing the medium.

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Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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