The Extent of Mental Completion of Films
Abstract:According to constructivist theory a film cues us to apply a variety of schemata in mentally constructing a narrative and the diegetic world in which it takes place. But to what extent and with what degree of precision do we mentally construct time, space, causality, and the characters when we watch a film? We are not aware of the real world and our immediate environment much in excess of what our interests, needs, and desires are in any given situation. Similarly, we do not conceive of a complete fictional world when watching a film. Rather, a film cues us to fill in to the extent and with a precision that is relevant to our attempts at making sense of what is happening, often as focalized in terms of character interest. The cueing takes place through an interplay of what Thompson (1988) has defined as the realistic and the aesthetic background construction. This article outlines how this interplay functions to override apparent discrepancies in the material on the one hand, and to produce a variety of aesthetic effects on the other hand. Von Trier's Antichrist serves as an example of how the partial blocking of the filling in function can serve intriguing aesthetic purposes.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2011
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- WINNER OF THE 2008 AAP/PSP PROSE AWARD FOR BEST NEW JOURNAL IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES & HUMANITIES!
Projections is an interdisciplinary, peer-reviewed journal that explores the ways in which recent advancements in fields such as psychoanalysis, cognitive psychology, neuroscience, genetics and evolution help to increase our understanding of film, and how film itself facilitates investigations into the nature and function of the mind. The journal incorporates articles on the visual arts and new technologies related to film. The aims of the journal are to explore these subjects, facilitate a dialogue between people in the sciences and the humanities, and bring the study of film to the forefront of contemporary intellectual debate.
Published on behalf of The Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image and The Forum for Movies and Mind
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