introduction fo film and television studieis
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Introduction fo Film and Television Studieis. Fears and fantasies. Fears. A film offers bad role models and “turns young people into whores and murderers” Rapid editing reflects and further spurs the hectic pace of contemporary society and causes alienation

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  • A film offers bad role models and “turns young people into whores and murderers”
  • Rapid editing reflects and further spurs the hectic pace of contemporary society and causes alienation
  • Film and TV may produce psychophysical disturbances
  • Film is mechanical and artificial and causes alienation
  • Television prevents people from developing themselves by offering entertainment according to lowest common denominator
  • Classical editing "sutures" the spectator into the film experience thus causing ideological numbness
  • Seeing films or watching television is passive and makes people apathetic and politically passive
the production code hays code
The Production Code (Hays Code)
  • Established by the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA)
  • Director: Will H. Hays
  • Implementation:
    • Regulations about susceptible topics in1924
    • More strict rules in 1927 and 1930
    • The actual Motion Picture Production Code in 1934
    • The code was enforced for about twenty years
  • Some basic principles:
    • A film may not lower the spectator’s moral standards
    • Laws, natural or human, must not be disparaged
    • Methods of crime should not be explicitly represented
    • Sexual perversion fo any kind is forbidden
reprehensible and commendable pleasures of audiovisual representation
Reprehensible and commendable pleasures of audiovisual representation
  • Visual pleasure in itself (scopophilia)
  • Voyeurism
  • Identification and consequent emotional experiences
  • Escapism
  • Sensation of the sublime
  • Learning about the world (epistemophilia)
visual pleasure and narrative cinema i
“Visual pleasure and Narrative Cinema”(I)
  • Scopophilia: the pleasure of looking at other people as objects, subjecting them to the controlling and curious gaze
  • Mainstream film portray a hermetically sealed world, which unwinds indifferent to the presence of the audience → voyeurism fantasy of looking in on a private world.
  • Illusion of voyeuristic separation in the auditorium
  • The conventions of mainstream film focus attention on the human form: scale, space, stories are all anthropomorphic → fascination and identification with certain screen characters
visual pleasure and narrative cinema ii
“Visual pleasure and Narrative Cinema”(II)
  • Pleasure in looking is split between active/male and passive/female → the male gaze projects its fantasy on the female, whose appearance is coded for strong visual and erotic impact
  • A male movie star’s glamorous characteristics are not those of the erotic object of the gaze, but those of a more perfect, complete and powerful ideal ego
  • Fetishist scopophilia builds up the physical beauty of the object, transforming it into something satisfying in itself.

Selectively following Laura Mulvey’s article

identification and engagement
Identification and engagement

What is identification?

  • To imagine one actually is a character in the story
  • To sympathize with one or more characters
  • To project oneself in the situations depicted

What is engagement? (Murray Smith)

  • Recognition (tunnistaminen)
  • Alignment (suhteutuminen)
  • Allegiance (liittoutuminen)
why do we need fiction
Why do we need fiction?
  • The evolutionary value of narrating: factual accounts of causal chains of events
  • Narratives enable us to communicate our experiences
  • Socially and psychologically important things can be treated and communicated in a persuasive and pleasant way → identity formation
  • Fiction helps us to learn about and come to terms with emotions by presenting them in ways which are detached from our own private concerns
  • Freedom from the necessities and responsibilities of immediate reality enables the processing of latent questions, wishes and desires
  • Emotional experiences generated by stories are a part of Making special. As such they may even have evolutionary survival value (Dissannayake)
enchantment of fictional violence
Enchantment of fictional violence
  • Fantasy
  • Fiction as a context
  • Need for stimulationand excitement
  • Experiencing and expressing emotions
  • Mood management, control of emotions
  • Retributive justice
  • Historical context
  • Verisimilitude
  • Social identity
  • Social control
jahn cycle of narrative
Jahn: cycle of narrative
  • Model of the ‘cycle of narrative’ which connects external and internal stories
  • The cycle creates a causal chain linking reception and production and suggesting that both processes are mutually dependent

Manfred Jahn “‘Awake! Open your eyes!’ The

Cognitive Logic of External and Internal


jahn external and internal stories
external story




addressee orientation


internal story




no addressee orientation


Jahn: External and Internal Stories
three interfaces
Three interfaces
  • Fiction emerges from the interaction between notions about real people and fantasies about human (or inhuman) action; fiction in turn influences both notions about real people and our fantasies about them.
  • Notions about real people are processed both in private fantasies and public fiction; those two in turn influence notions about real people.
  • Fantasies feed on fiction but gain their relevance from being related to our needs and desires in respect of real people; fantasies in turn inspire fiction and to some extent even our relationship with real people.
learning from fiction
Learning from fiction
  • Propositional knowledge
  • Values and attitudes
  • Strategies and patterns of behaviour for various social situations
  • Understanding of situations and social configurations which have fallen beyond one’s own experience
  • Alternative points of view to familiar situations
  • Empathetic knowledge gained through identification
functions and effects of escapism
Functions and effects of escapism?

Does entertainment

  • make us more passive?
  • offer us mere substitute satisfactions and thus entail mental regression (Freud, Lacan)?
  • entail succumbing to social control and dominant ideology (Marx, Adorno, Althusserl)?
  • entail sentimentalizing and trivializing problems? (what’s wrong with that?)
  • make us suppress problems and anxieties as opposed to finding solutions to them?
  • provide us with an alternative point of view to our problems? (if only sometimes)
the meaning of tragedy
The meaning of tragedy

Tragedy is only an illusion in so far as any claim to make sense of all the evils of our life is an illusion (and perhaps tragedy does not claim this). The tragedies of real life, unlike those of the stage, are often shapeless, sordid, capricious, meaningless. But supposing this to be true (as I do), what then? It is not human to be content with this useless, even if ultimate, truth. We must try to understand, to cope, to respond. It is in this attempt that tragedy - that most great art - has its place. For it gives the hurtful twists of life a shape and meaning which are persuasive, which can be lived with. And that endurance and perspective are none the less real. As Gorgias so neatly put it “the man who is deceived has more wisdom than he who is not”. And so in the end the “deceit” is true to life and part of life and makes life the better for it. (Oliver Taplin: Greek Tragedy in Action)