Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema

Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema

Daniel Yacavone

Language: English

Pages: 344

ISBN: 023115769X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Film Worlds unpacks the significance of the "worlds" that narrative films create, offering an innovative perspective on cinema as art. Drawing on aesthetics and the philosophy of art in both the continental and analytic traditions, as well as classical and contemporary film theory, it weaves together multiple strands of thought and analysis to provide new understandings of filmic representation, fictionality, expression, self-reflexivity, style, and the full range of cinema's affective and symbolic dimensions.

Always more than "fictional worlds" and "storyworlds" on account of cinema's perceptual, cognitive, and affective nature, film worlds are theorized as immersive and transformative artistic realities. As such, they are capable of fostering novel ways of seeing, feeling, and understanding experience. Engaging with the writings of Jean Mitry, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Christian Metz, David Bordwell, Gilles Deleuze, and Hans-Georg Gadamer, among other thinkers, Film Worlds extends Nelson Goodman's analytic account of symbolic and artistic "worldmaking" to cinema, expands on French philosopher Mikel Dufrenne's phenomenology of aesthetic experience in relation to films and their worlds, and addresses the hermeneutic dimensions of cinematic art. It emphasizes what both celluloid and digital filmmaking and viewing share with the creation and experience of all art, while at the same time recognizing what is unique to the moving image in aesthetic terms. The resulting framework reconciles central aspects of realist and formalist/neo-formalist positions in film theory while also moving beyond them and seeks to open new avenues of exploration in film studies and the philosophy of film.

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its 119 minutes from opening image to closing credits, or the many decades of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth that its story spans, Citizen Kane possesses a felt time, which may vary from viewer to viewer, and from one experience of it to the next, but that in spite of this variability is identifiable with Welles’s film. This third basic form of cinematic temporality owes much to the distinctively human, psychological form or mode of time that is not measured or quantified in any

Yet there are also problems with Frampton’s account, ones that are highly instructive in terms of our larger concerns in this chapter and those following. Some of these pertain to issues surrounding the viewer’s experience of the “filmworld” in question and the creative intentionality behind it. Frampton is surely correct in maintaining that the actual perceptual and affective experience of films as audiovisual works and the meanings that they manifest in such powerful fashion, as rooted in this

film-within-the-film is being shot. Holmes and Ingram note that the vase is a “doubly fictionalized object,” appearing in both the narrative of Day for Night and “Meet Pamela.”8 Yet it is (even) more than that: the vase functions as a double metaphor and metonym for the filmmaking process. Outside of the world of each film it is simply a vase. But as represented within Day for Night and “Meet Pamela,” it is a constitutive element of both. As such, like any other object or prop brought inside a

in the language system all figurative connotations contain the literal denotations that they build on and to which they are bound.18 Yet, and perhaps more to the central point, it is also a consequence of what I have described here as the particular enclosure of the represented (denoted) world constructed by a narrative film, within the presented world of it as a work of art in total, with the latter including, but certainly not confined to, what might be adequately theorized as connotation.

exhibition of cinematic structure, in this case formal or presentational structure, as relatively independent of story and plot. Apart from narrative or formal structure, per se, reflexive exemplification in cinema has many other vehicles and objects, including simultaneous reference and self-reference to subject matter, other films, particular cinematic techniques, and aspects of dramatic performance and character—all of which, as present and recognized in films, may prompt focused reflection

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