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.
Sam Roggen gives us a detailed examination of graduated emphasis in the shot compositions of director Anthony Mann in the series of celebrated CinemaScope Westerns that he made beginning in the 1950s. Roggen studies the cutting rates and shot scales that Mann and his cinematographers employed and compares these with all other films that Mann directed in the 1950s. Roggen also compares Mann’s work with a sample of thirty-one CinemaScope films made in this period in order to place Mann’s treatment of space in the widescreen frame in the broader context of film style as found in that era’s ’scope productions.
Many films feature morally flawed characters offered as heroes or protagonists. To what extent do viewers disengage their moral filters when responding to transgressive characters? Philip J. Hohle examines viewer responses to three Clint Eastwood movies—The Bridges of Madison County, A Perfect World, and Unforgiven—and provides thick, analytic descriptions of what viewers say about flawed characters and their situations. Hohle discusses the sense-making strategies viewers employ and the ways that moral judgment helps to bridge gaps in a character’s represented behavior.
Jens Eder takes up the issue of existential feelings in relation to cinema. These are feelings experienced within the body but that point toward a sense of one’s relationship with the world—feelings of being alive, of being at one with things or, alternatively, being overwhelmed, lost, or isolated. Eder discusses the ways that cinema can represent, express or evoke such feelings in viewers and elicit a sense that these are shared with characters.
What does it mean to be an ecological filmmaker? What types of cinema practices does an eco-aware filmmaker employ and with what intentions? Mette Hjort explores these issues in relation to Norwegian filmmaker Knut Erik Jensen. She explains how ecologically aware filmmaking may differ from conventional filmic practices. Her assessment of Jensen’s work raises broader issue regarding stewardship and interaction with the natural world.
Suspension of disbelief is fundamental to the experience of fiction in cinema and other narrative arts. Qihao Ji and Arthur A. Raney provide an empirical analysis of th e way in which this psychological process works in relation to a specific genre—films that emulate a documentary style but are not themselves documentaries. They examine suspension of disbelief as a function of a viewer’s perception of realism in this genre, which often blurs the distinctions between fiction and nonfiction. Suspension of disbelief is seen as an ongoing mode of negotiation that viewers bring to bear on their cinematic experience.
We close, as usual, with a pair of book reviews. Robert Sinnerbrink reviews Daniel Yacavone’s Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema. And Matthew Cipa reviews Maarten Coëgnarts and Peter Kravanja’s edited volume Embodied Cognition and Cinema.