Film studies is currently undergoing a needed and healthy expansion of methodologies and critical approaches, including media, cultural and technology studies. This is crucial not just for examining cinemas present but also its past. Using format theory, this article opens up our understanding of what cinema has been, rather than what it should have been. It does this by documenting the minor technological footprint of movie theatres when compared to the expansive one consisting of 8mm and 16mm small-gauge projectors. In the United States by 1980, these portable devices,outnumbered commercial theatres by an estimated factor of 1000:1.

Film Studies

This introduction to the Film Studies special issue on Sex and the Cinema considers the special place of sex as an object of inquiry in film studies. Providing an overview of three major topic approaches and methodologies – (1) representation, spectatorship and identity politics; (2) the increasing scrutiny of pornography; and (3) new cinema history/media industries studies – this piece argues that the parameters of and changes to the research of sex, broadly defined, in film studies reflect the development of the field and discipline since the 1970s, including the increased focus on putatively ‘low’ cultural forms, on areas of film culture beyond representation and on methods beyond textual/formal analysis.

Film Studies
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Film Studies is a refereed journal that approaches cinema and the moving image from within the fields of critical, conceptual and historical scholarship. The aim is to provide a forum for the interdisciplinary, intercultural and intermedial study of film by publishing innovative research of the highest quality. Contributions from diverse perspectives that are formed by the crossing of institutional and national boundaries are encouraged.

This article addresses the current state of film studies as a discipline, profession and institution, arguing that the hunt for cultural authority has been the defining feature, motivating force and tragic flaw of film studies. The current self-reflexive soul- searching reveals that the field – no longer a radical upstart – still lacks the gravitas of more established subjects. Departments have responded to identity crises and changing enrolment patterns by mummifying, killing off or burying foundational emphases. The nostalgia for film studies origins and the jeremiads about an unmanageable, unruly and recalcitrant discipline yield rose-tinted fantasies about community and mutual intelligibility that must be ultimately resisted.

Film Studies

This article describes the rise of MA programmes in audio-visual archiving, preservation and presentation. It distinguishes between two key developments that are transforming the contemporary graduation education in AV heritage: digital developments that significantly impact the professional field, and new governance structures that comprise a (forced) move away from film studies as disciplinary home. It is the latter, this article argues, that poses the real threat for the future of professional education in preservation and presentation of moving images.

Film Studies
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Film and Digital Media

This article looks at contemporary film scholarship in order to address one of the disciplines pressing questions: the place of cinema in a context of rapid technological change. Rather than simply focus on technology, however, the article calls for a broad set of criteria to define what counts as cinema today. In particular, it revisits the concept of expanded cinema and treats filmmaking as an event that combines the contexts of production and reception. Finally, the article insists on the relevance of film studies as a field that will continue to lead the debate on moving image media.

Film Studies

This article investigates the emotive potency of horror soundtracks. The account illuminates the potency of aural elements in horror cinema to engage spectators body in the light of a philosophical framework of emotion, namely, the embodied appraisal theories of emotion. The significance of aural elements in horror cinema has been gaining recognition in film studies. Yet it still receives relatively scarce attention in the philosophical accounts of film music and cinematic horror, which tend to underappreciate the power of horror film sound and music in inducing emotions. My investigation aims both to address the lacuna, and facilitate dialogue between the two disciplines.

Film Studies

Towards a Theory for African Cinema is an English translation of a talk given in French by the Tunisian filmmaker and critic Férid Boughedir (1944–) at a conference on international cinema, which took place in Montreal in 1974. In his presentation Boughedir discusses the vocation of the African filmmaker, who must avoid succumbing to the escapism and entertainment values of Western cinema and instead strive to reflect the contradictions and tensions of the colonised African identity, while promoting a revitalisation of African culture. Drawing on the example of the 1968 film Mandabi (The Money Order) by the Senegalese director Sembène Ousmane, Boughedir conceptualises a form of cinema which resists the influences of both Hollywood and auteur film and awakens viewers, instead of putting them to sleep. Boughedir‘s source text is preceded by a translator‘s introduction, which situates his talk within contemporary film studies.

Film Studies
Emotional Contagion Responses to Narrative Fiction Film

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
Association, Simulation, or Appraisal?

This paper attempts to trace the psychological routes to empathy by assessing the relative merits of three alternatives. Traditionally, empathy has been explained in terms of two psychological processes: association and simulation. After concurring that associative connections play a significant role in generating empathy, the paper focuses on the imaginative activity of simulation, arguing that many of our empathetic responses to film characters can be spelt out in the alternative terms of emotion related appraisal. In order to demonstrate this point, the paper analyses an example of empathy from Hitchcock‘s Psycho (1960), concluding that the term ‘simulation’ should be reserved for those instances in which we deliberately attempt to imaginatively entertain a characters thoughts and feelings.

Film Studies