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    Embodied visions: evolution, emotion, culture and film

    Smith, Tim J. (2010) Embodied visions: evolution, emotion, culture and film. Screen 51 (4), pp. 433-437. ISSN 0036-9543.

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    Abstract

    ‘[T]he expression and elicitation of emotion in film is a central element of the film experience, an experience that is worthy of study in its own right.’ (Plantinga, p. 5). This is the central tenet of both Plantinga's Moving Viewers and Grodal's Embodied Visions. Both books explore the experience of the cinematic viewer from a cognitive perspective employing theories and analytical methods from philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. In Moving Viewers, Plantinga presents a general theory of affect elicitation in film through the detailed analysis of the affective methods utilized by Hollywood film. While acknowledging that focusing on Hollywood film may underestimate the role of culture and history in shaping experiences of other national and genre film traditions, Plantinga argues that the global influence of the Hollywood style and its emphasis on avoiding ‘audience boredom at all costs and attempt[ing] to elicit strong, clear … emotions throughout the viewing process’ (p. 7) makes it the ideal starting point for a theory of cinematic emotion.

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