Emotions, Memory, and Memento
Karen Renner

Using the particular example of Memento (2001), this essay investigates the capacity for films to maintain emotional potency upon repeat viewings. Subtle emotion markers in the film - such as facial expressions and its score - collaborate with the plot to create a mood of sadness that may escalate into more powerful emotion. Because these same markers consistently appear during scenes of high emotion, the cues themselves become associated with sadness, leading the viewer to experience grief each time they are encountered more as an unconscious, learned response rather than a direct reaction to the film. As a result, though the film may have become familiar, it may retain its emotional potential on subsequent viewings.

Film Studies
Malcolm Turvey

It is widely argued that engaging with a fiction involves imagining its content. Yet, the concept of the imagination is rarely clarified, and it is often used incorrectly by theorists. A good example, this paper argues, is Gregory Currie‘s simulation theory, and its claim that imagining the content of a fiction consists of simulating ‘the beliefs I would acquire if I took the work I am engaged with for fact rather than fiction’. The paper, following the philosopher Alan R. White, argues instead that imagining consists of thoughts about the possible.

Film Studies
Jonathan Frome

This article addresses two questions about artworks. First, why do we emotionally respond to characters and stories that we believe are fictional? Second, why are some media better than others at generating specific types of emotions? I answer these questions using psychological research that suggests our minds are not unified, but are comprised of numerous subsystems that respond differently to various aspects of artworks. I then propose a framework to help us understand how films, videogames, and literature interact with our minds in different ways, which explains why they tend to excel at generating different types of emotions.

Film Studies
Abstract only
Thomas Wartenberg

Film theorists and philosophers have both contended that narrative fiction films cannot present philosophical arguments. After canvassing a range of objections to this claim, this article defends the view that films are able to present philosophical thought experiments that can function as enthymemic arguments. An interpretation of Michel Gondry‘s Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is given in which the films criticism of the technology of memory erasure is just such a thought experiment, one that functions as a counter-example to utilitarianism as a theory for the justification of social practices.

Film Studies
Film Studies
Against the Naturalistic Account of Filmic Communication
Jinhee Choi

Film Studies
Abstract only
Cynthia Freeland

Film Studies
Abstract only
Noël Carroll

Film Studies
Abstract only
Edward Buscombe, Peter Hutchings, Paisley Livingston and Amy Sargeant

Film Studies
Emotional Contagion Responses to Narrative Fiction Film
Amy Coplan

In this paper, I examine the role of emotional contagion in our affective engagement with narrative fiction film, focusing in particular on how spectator responses based on emotional contagion differ from those based on more sophisticated emotional processes. I begin by explaining emotional contagion and the processes involved in it. Next, I consider how film elicits emotional contagion. I then argue that emotional contagion responses are unique and should be clearly distinguished from responses based on other emotional processes, such as empathy. Finally, I explain why contagion responses are a significant feature of spectators engagement with narrative fiction film.

Film Studies