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A General Model of Visual Aesthetics
Torben Grodal

This article argues that the central dimensions of film aesthetics may be explained by a general theory of viewer psychology, the PECMA flow model. The PECMA flow model explains how the film experience is shaped by the brain‘s architecture and the operation of different cognitive systems; the model describes how the experience is based on a mental flow from perception, through emotional activation and cognitive processing, to motor action. The article uses the flow model to account for a variety of aesthetic phenomena, including the reality-status of films, the difference between narrative and lyrical-associative film forms, and the notion of ‘excess’.

Film Studies
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Author: Barry Jordan

Alejandro Amenábar has made only five main features over a 15-year period from 1995 to 2009. In 1995 he abandoned his Film Studies degree at Madrid's Complutense University in order to shoot Tesis (Thesis), his first feature. This book contains a brief biographical profile of Amenábar, but the main focus is a detailed analysis of his shorts, and the ways in which a set of templates and devices (stylistic, narrative and thematic) begin to emerge from them, as well as a series of working practices. It then provides detailed accounts of Amenábar's five feature films to date: Tesis, Abre los ojos, The Others, Mar adentro, and Ágora. Though the approaches adopted and the menu of topics vary in each chapter, the book seeks to combine important aspects of contextual information (historical, social, industrial) with detailed production and reception notes. It pays close attention to aspects of film form and style (e.g. the interplay in Tesis between classical Hollywood narration and 'art film narration'). The book explores the ways in which Amenábar appears to conduct experiments in generic hybridity to create a personal, auteur cinema which satisfies his cinephilia as well as his desire for ambiguity and profundity. At the same time, it demonstrates his commitment to the tastes and pleasures of film audiences. The study presented is guided in large part by questions already raised in scholarly writings on Amenábar, as well as other issues and evidence which have subsequently emerged.

Barry Jordan

the kinds of film narration employed in Tesis , the ways in which Amenábar establishes his modes of audience address and the extent to which the film follows the basic rules of Hollywood storytelling. I also consider briefly the notorious Alcasser case, whose shameful treatment on Spanish television (by both public and private channels) formed a key ingredient in a rather chaotic and unregulated media context which Amenábar

in Alejandro Amenábar
Brian Mcfarlane

This chapter presents a contemporary production reports and reviews of Lance Comfort's films. Sight and Sound in its round-up of British directors in 1959, claimed that Comfort 'became animator and cameraman on medical research films in 1928'. Dallas Bower recalls how Comfort came, in the early 1930s, to join his staff at Cricklewood where Bower, 'fed up with BIP (British International Pictures)' had gone to take charge of the sound department for Stoll Picture Productions. Towards the end of his apprenticeship, in 1938-39, he directed several short films for children. Comfort's film may be seen as urging America to fulfil its function as the most powerful nation of 'the free world'. Comfort was one of those comparatively rare English directors who were prepared to let the camera do a great deal of a film's narration.

in Lance Comfort
Author: Karen Fricker

This book explores the development of Robert Lepage’s distinctive approach to stage direction in the early (1984–94) and middle (1995–2008) stages of his career, arguing that globalisation had a defining effect in shaping his aesthetic and professional trajectory. It combines examination of Lepage’s theatremaking techniques with discussion of his work’s effects on audiences, calling on Lepage’s own statements as well as existing scholarship and critical response. In addition to globalisation theory, the book draws on cinema studies, queer theory, and theories of affect and reception. As such, it offers an unprecedented conceptual framework, drawing together what has previously been a scattered field of research. Each of six chapters treats a particular aspect of globalisation, using this as a means to explore one or more of Lepage’s productions. These aspects include the relationship of the local (in Lepage’s case, his background in Québec) to the global; the place of individual experience within global late modernity; the effects of screen media on human perception; the particular affect of ‘feeling global’; the place of branding in contemporary creative systems; and the relationship of creative industries to neoliberal economies. Making theatre global: Robert Lepage’s original stage productions will be of interest to scholars of contemporary theatre, advanced-level undergraduates with an interest in the application of theoretical approaches to theatrical creation and reception, and arts lovers keen for new perspectives on one of the most talked-about theatre artists of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.

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Andrew Dix

storytelling is done through voiceover, usually – though not always – spoken by someone from within the narrative itself. While the device is not universally favoured, it has been institutionalised in some times and places, as in classic film noir or traditional documentary. Despite claims by a number of critics that it represents film narration at its most clunky, an uninspired recourse to telling of events or feelings rather than showing them by non-verbal cinematic means, the voiceover retains some currency. Consider, for example, David O. Russell’s American Hustle

in Beginning film studies (second edition)
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Jason Statham and the ensemble fi lm
Sarah Thomas

Film Narration . Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press . Geraghty , C. ( 2000 ). ‘Re-examining stardom: questions of texts, bodies and performance’, reprinted in Redmond , S. and Holmes , S. (eds). 2003 . Stardom and Celebrity: A Reader , Los Angeles and London : SAGE . pp. 98 – 110 . Greven , D. ( 2009 ). ‘ Contemporary Hollywood

in Crank it up
Robin Nelson

scale) versus film’s informationally dense imagery; the TV image is less detailed, whereas the film image is elaborate; in TV talk is dominant, while in film the image is dominant; TV elicits the glance, but film engenders the gaze; TV is in the present tense, whereas film is in the past tense; TV narration is segmented and serial, but film narration is uninterrupted and closed; and, given the previous distinction, the object of attention in TV is the flow of programming, while the object of attention in film is the individual, integrated, closed story (the

in State of play
Marnie (1964)
K. J. Donnelly

sound) and having a startling colour infusion to the diegetic images. These dramatic points of abstraction are aesthetic manifestations of the ‘abnormal’, of aesthetics as mental state, through exploiting technical strategies beyond the ‘everyday’ for film narration. This is less a situation of aesthetic elements indicating abnormality than manifesting it in themselves, and is closer to strategies such as extreme moments in horror films. These articulate a mode of flashback but also embrace a form of direct ‘point of view’ embodying disturbed character psychology in

in Partners in suspense
Home video, sex crime and indeterminacy in Capturing the Friedmans
Thomas Austin

Storytellers and Screenwriters, which notes: ‘The opening of any story … has some special burdens to bear. It must hook the reader or viewer, set the tone of story, suggest where it’s going, and get across a mass of information without slowing the pace.’12 Indeed, throughout the film, narration is very carefully controlled with key information withheld from, then delivered to, the audience in a manner designed to engage viewers much as a fictional thriller would.13 From this beginning onwards, Capturing the Friedmans foregrounds two axes against which documentaries have

in Watching the world