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SCSMI2017 Helsinki has ended
The annual conference of the Society for Cognitive Studies of the Moving Image (SCSMI) welcomes you to the Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, June 11th – 14th, 2017

SCSMI2017 Helsinki program is under construction and changes are to occur. Meanwhile you may complete your personal information with a photo and some tags, so the other attendees and speakers will get to know more of you and your interests, and vice versa.

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Room 301 [clear filter]
Monday, June 12
 

09:30

LP Francesco Sticchi: Inside the 'mind' of Llewyn Davis: Embodying a Melancholic Vision of the World
Limited Capacity seats available

With this presentation I aim to analyze Inside Llewyn Davis within what I call an experientialist theory of cinema, which examines the affective and conceptual elements of film experience by employing Baruch Spinoza's psychological model of intensities and potentialities. More specifically, this essay examines a particular type of film experience, one based on sad passions. The experientialist model I am proposing identifies film experience as an embodied phenomenon based on the association between sensations and concepts, which avoids the standard distinction between emotion and reason. Affections and abstractions become part of the same integrated cognitive process, which makes us "physically sense" ideas. This associative mechanism is largely based on visual metaphors, which spatially describe complex concepts and even philosophical and behavioural models. In Inside Llewyn Davis viewers experience a particular spatio-temporal structure (chronotope), which describes circular patterns and the hero's constant failure to achieve goals. Film experience is, therefore, conceived as a synesthetic process that combines narrative and intellectual structures with emotional reactions, in order to facilitate empathic involvement with the characters, especially those inflicted with sad passions and negative emotions. Furthermore, because of the dynamic nature of film experience, viewers can use creatively the problematic potential of sad passions.


Speakers
avatar for Francesco Sticchi

Francesco Sticchi

PhD -Assistant Lecturer, Oxford Brookes University
I just completed my PhD at Oxford Brookes University, working under the supervision of prof. Warren Buckland. My research concerns the study of sad passions in audiovisual experience, and the connection between Spinoza’s thought and different embodied cognitive theories. I am also... Read More →


Monday June 12, 2017 09:30 - 10:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

10:30

SP Jaakko Seppälä. Representations of loneliness in the cinema of Aki Kaurismäki
Limited Capacity seats available

Aki Kaurismäki is known for making melancholic films that discuss pressing social issues, but paradoxically his films have a reputation for being funny. Loneliness is a major theme in his cinema. Focusing on what I see as Kaurismäki’s loneliest protagonists, I explore how he employs his signature style of ironic minimalism and makes the representations of loneliness poignant, amusing and engaging. I demonstrate why the protagonists are lonely, how loneliness affects their being in the world and, most importantly, how ironic minimalism directs the audience to engage with them by inviting and blocking emotional involvement.


Speakers
avatar for Jaakko Seppälä

Jaakko Seppälä

University of Helsinki
Dr. Jaakko Seppälä is the chair of Finnish Society for Cinema Studies and a researcher at the School of Film and Television Studies, University of Helsinki. He is also a member of the editorial board of Lähikuva, a Finnish language journal on film and media studies. Seppälä’s... Read More →


Monday June 12, 2017 10:30 - 11:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

11:00

SP James Mairata. When Spielberg met Ozu: striking stylistic similarities between two directors from different eras, cultures, and industrial practices.
Limited Capacity seats available

It was in the mid-1970s, more than a decade after Japanese writer/director Yasujiro Ozu’s death that many western scholars turned their attention to a detailed consideration of style in his films. David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson, Edward Branigan, Stephen Heath, Donald Ritchie, Noel Burch and others noted Ozu’s seemingly unique visual style, most clearly evident in his later films. Having embraced the classical continuity system in his early career, Ozu gradually evolved a specific set of stylistic parameters that included the rejection of eye-line matching and camera movement while at the same time retaining classical “rules” such as match-on-action cutting. Of particular interest to many was how Ozu often constructed cinematic space by using a set of camera angles and 90 degree or 180 degree shot variations that resulted in a complete 360 degree vista of a location. This prioritising of space over narrative intent contrasted sharply to Hollywood’s seemingly traditional practice of never revealing the “fourth wall”.

The examination of Ozu’s style also presented an opportunity for some to attack Hollywood continuity editing, claiming it as restrictive when compared to Ozu’s “system”. In a comparison with Spielberg’s “Jaws” (1975), Stephen Heath (1976) complained in a scene from the film “The 180-degree line that the camera is forbidden to cross answers exactly to the 180-degree line of the screen behind which the spectator cannot and must not go…” (p88). There is a certain irony that Heath chose a Spielberg film to illustrate Hollywood’s apparent inferiority in depicting space because it is in Spielberg’s films (“Jaws” in particular) that numerous instances of 360 degree - Ozu like - scene constructions can be found.    

Through the comparative analysis of scenes from both Spielberg and Ozu I will demonstrate how both directors use similar, innovative strategies of shot construction to build a comprehensive depiction of space. While isolated instances of 360 degree construction exists in the works of other filmmakers, it is only in Ozu and Spielberg that they occur repeatedly and in the case of Spielberg – seen to be evident in even his earliest television work. I further argue that while Ozu’s strictly limited set of devices makes his style more distinct as a formal system – and therefore more self-conscious, Spielberg intentionally disguises his 360 degree coverage behind the veneer of classical practice. This is done to reduce stylistic self-consciousness, and permits him to remain true to the classical convention that style not overwhelm narration.

Despite the significant generational, cultural, and industrial divide between the two directors, I will illustrate how each director’s drive for more effective storytelling strategies guided them into independently modifying classical practice in a way that resulted in them both arriving at stylistic systems that were (and are) distinct within their own industries yet common to each other.   


Speakers
JM

James Mairata

Charles Sturt University
My presentation is derived from my forthcoming book Steven Spielberg's Style by Stealth, (Palgrave Macmillan). I teach narrative theory at Charles Sturt University in Sydney and have more than 20 years experience as a director and producer of television drama. Current research includes... Read More →


Monday June 12, 2017 11:00 - 11:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

11:30

SP Miklos Kiss and Steven Willemsen. Impossible Puzzle Films: ambiguous framings and framing ambiguities in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive
Limited Capacity seats available

This presentation is a case study driven extension of our book Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema (Edinburgh UP 2017). 

In the book, we conceptualized the cognitive effects and interpretive responses that characterize the viewing experiences of confusingly complex narrative puzzles. 

In this talk, we test our theoretical ideas by looking at the case of David Lynch’s 2001 Mulholland Drive. Reviewing responses to the film’s narrative complexity, our hypothesis is that part of Mulholland Drive’s persistent appeal arises from a possible cognitive oscillation that the film allows between profoundly differing, but potentially equally valid interpretive ‘framings’.

Speakers
avatar for Miklos Kiss

Miklos Kiss

Assistant Professor in Film and Media Studies, University of Groningen
Miklós Kiss is assistant professor in Film and Media Studies at the University of Groningen (NL). His research intersects the fields of narrative and cognitive film theories. Published in anthologies and academic journals (Projections, Scope, Senses of Cinema, Acta, Necsus, New Cinemas... Read More →
avatar for Steven Willemsen

Steven Willemsen

PhD candidate, University of Groningen
Steven Willemsen is a PhD Candidate and Junior Lecturer in Film and Media Studies. His research interests lie in film theory, narratology, and cognitive approaches to the Arts and Humanities. He is currently working on a doctoral thesis examining experiences of narrative complexity... Read More →



Monday June 12, 2017 11:30 - 12:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

13:00

LP Keith Bound: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Defining Cinematic Suspense
Limited Capacity seats available

An Interdisciplinary Approach to Defining Cinematic Suspense

The construction of suspenseful sequences has been a crucial component for filmmakers to engage the viewer, especially within the thriller and horror genres. This paper takes a new approach to understanding cinematic suspense by creating a psychophysiological model to measure cinematic suspense and subsequently viewer experience. To date, film scholars and media psychologists have defined the process of suspense in terms of specific story case studies, rather than first independently identifying the components of suspense. Such theories become selective and open to subjective interpretation and have provided misinterpretations of the phenomenon of suspense (Friedrichsen, 1996: 329). Suspense then by existing definitions is not measurable and makes it hard to quantify any discussion of cinematic suspense in relation to the viewer experience. Although film scholars and media psychologists recognise that the experience of suspense involves cognition, emotion, and physiology, only media psychologists have carried out empirical studies with viewers. Even taking this into consideration there have only been a few psychophysiological studies about the experience of suspense (Kreibig, 2010: 408). Furthermore, there is a methodological dilemma, with film scholars preferring a qualitative approach, often via film textual analysis, and media psychologists primarily taking a quantitative approach, analysing data sets using statistical models, which film scholars see as offering little contribution to the complexities of film analysis (Smith, M. 2013). The differences between these methodological approaches raise the question of whether we can gain a greater insight into viewers’ experiences of suspense by drawing elements from both research methods and identifying the most appropriate methods, procedures, and techniques to defining cinematic suspense.  One strategy for achieving this is to turn to the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) which often uses mixed methods approaches to resolve such interdisciplinary differences, especially in gaining a deeper insight into user/viewer experience of narrative trajectories (Benford et al. 2009).

This paper takes an interdisciplinary approach that combines film studies, media psychology, HCI, and psychophysiology. By drawing from film studies and media psychology it will identify the components of cinematic suspense and create a framework to measure suspense. Taking an HCI experiment approach in designing and analysing the findings of the ‘Terror & Tension’ film experiment, 20 viewers watched 32 short film clips from 8 horror films, dispersed through 4 sub-genres and 4 suspense narrative structures, defined by film scholar Susan Smith: vicarious, direct, shared and composite (Smith, S. 2000). Triangulation was used as a mixed methods approach to capturing and analysing three data sets which include: firstly, viewer physiological responses, which were measured in terms of anxiety durability and intensity level by recording viewers’ skin conductance responses (SCRs), a component of electrodermal activity (EDA). The findings were then tested to verify the physiological framework to measure viewer experience of suspense. This led to the development of an EDA model of suspense. Viewer feedback was captured through verbal self-reports, which were recorded after watching each film clip. These physiological responses and feedback were then analysed alongside textual analysis of the film clips in a series of case studies to provide a deeper insight into how cinematic suspense is constructed through narrative elements, cinematography, editing, sound, and mise-en-scène. The research findings demonstrate that the EDA model of suspense makes a valuable contribution to film analysis and understanding viewer experience of suspense and offers psychophysiology a new framework to measure suspense in terms of anxiety durability and intensity.

 


Speakers
avatar for Keith Bound

Keith Bound

Narrative & Audience Engagement Designer: Film & Media, Receptive Cinema
Keith is a world-wide recognised expert in suspense and audience engagement offering a unique storytelling consultancy service to the film and media industries. He has a Ph.D. in Film and Television Studies (the science of storytelling: suspense) from the University of Nottingham... Read More →



Monday June 12, 2017 13:00 - 14:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:00

SP Alaina Schempp. What’s So Scary About Time? The Temporality of Cinematic Suspense in Horror and Suspense-Thriller Films
Limited Capacity seats available

Suspense is a naturally occurring emotional state for human beings and, in the real world, we are at risk of feeling it any time we wait for our name to be called at the doctor’s office or stare intently at a traffic light to change from red to green. What interests most cognitive film scholars of suspense, however, is not the suspense of everyday experiences found in everyday places like doctor’s offices and congested highways, but the suspense of aesthetic experiences found in cinema viewing. This special case of suspense, which I characterise as aesthetic suspense, differs from everyday suspense in that people often go out of their way to experience it. Unlike waiting for a traffic light, presuming most commuters would drive along happily if they encountered no delays, aesthetic suspense represents what may be thought of as a pleasurable emotion, one sought after while engaging in aesthetic activities such as watching films. Put another way, aesthetic suspense may be thought of as purposeful suspense; suspense that is, presumably in some ways, enjoyable and experience for its own sake. To further narrow my study of aesthetic suspense, I am specifically interested in cinematic suspense, which I take to be a kind of temporal affect and feature found in the temporal art of film. The primary aim of this paper is to evaluate the ways in which our perception and cognition of time and timing affect our emotions in suspense-thriller and horror films. Using an interdisciplinary, cognitive approach, I will demonstrate how aspects of time and timing have been little understood in the literature of film suspense and argue that in order to more fully understand the experience of cinematic suspense, one needs to seriously consider the ways in which time and timing factor into this experience. 

When applied to cinema, the word suspense implies a temporal component both for film as a broadly temporal art and more narrowly as a narrative one. As the word implies, suspending dramatic action is the keystone to narrative suspense. Yet, suspense can also be thought of in terms of emotions. Suspense is the feeling one gets from willing Indiana Jones of Raiders of the Last Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981) to outrun a giant boulder that threatens to crush him or hoping the innocent swimmer in Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975) escapes the water before the bloodthirsty shark wins a snack. In short, suspense is an affective temporal aspect of cinema that requires the viewer to have expectations, hopes, and sometimes simply curiosity. But suspense as it relates to cinema, what I will characterise as cinematic suspense, may also be thought of as a feature of a work and not just a feeling that arises while viewing that work. For instance, films falling into the genre of “suspense- thriller” such as No Country for Old Men (Joel and Ethan Coen, 2007) or There Will Be Blood (Paul Thomas Anderson, 2007) will not only use suspense as an affective feature, it may be characterised as an essential feature of the genre as a whole. Even if one disagrees that there are any essential features of a genre, it would, in any case, be difficult to imagine the same films without suspense. That is to say, even if it were somehow possible to “edit out” the suspense from No Country for Old Men or There Will Be Blood, we would, nevertheless, be left with drastically different films from the originals. Harkening back to the spaghetti westerns of Sergio Leone, these updated, contemporary westerns rely so heavily on the generation of suspense, even the titles of the films hint at that affect. The theoretical and aesthetic ground covered in this paper is, as the titles of these films imply, (respectively) "no country for old men" and "you can most definitely expect to see some blood." 


Speakers
avatar for Alaina Schempp

Alaina Schempp

PhD Candidate/Assistant Lecturer, University of Kent
I am a 4th year PhD candidate in Film Studies at the University of Kent supervised by Murray Smith and Margrethe Bruun Vaage. My dissertation takes a cognitive-analytic approach to the study of time, timing, and temporality in contemporary narrative film, television, and video. This... Read More →



Monday June 12, 2017 14:00 - 14:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:30

SP Bregt Lameris. Colorful Depictions of Disgust in Cinematic Representations
Limited Capacity seats available

This talk will focus on the relationship between colors and disgust drawing on the analytical data gathered as part of the research project ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors. 

To represent and evoke disgust films need to translate the perception mode from an aesthetics of reception to a bodily aesthetics of immediate reaction. Disgusting materials such as feces, vomit, decaying food or corpses often share material properties that are located between a solid and liquid state. Based on the FilmColors database, the talk offers a diachronic overview on the way film colors have been functional in the (re)presentation of disgust.

Speakers
avatar for Bregt Lameris

Bregt Lameris

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Zurich
Bregt Lameris is currently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the University of Zurich, where she is engaged within the project 'ERC Advanced Grant FilmColors: Bridging the Gap Between Technology and Aesthetics'. Other research interests include color in silent cinema, the history of film... Read More →


Monday June 12, 2017 14:30 - 15:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

15:30

LP Richard Allen: Bollywood poetics
Limited Capacity seats available

The reincarnation romance is a story of star-crossed lovers, often from different classes or castes, who, separated in one life by an unnatural and unjust death, are seeking to re-find each other and to recover their love in the next. In the reincarnation romance, recognition takes the form of Anamnesis, the recollection of a previous existence. This paper maps the idiom of the reincarnation romance and its historical transformations. It demonstrates how song is essential to the idiom for it is the privileged vehicle for articulating the timeless, spiritual, nature of true desire and the absolute union of self and other.


Speakers
avatar for Richard Allen

Richard Allen

School of Creative Media, City University
Richard Allen is Dean of the School of Creative Media, and Chair Professor of Film and Media Art. He has published on Film Theory and Philosophy, Alfred Hitchcock, Indian Cinema, and Melodrama. His current research projects are Bollywood Poetics, and The Passion of Christ and the... Read More →


Monday June 12, 2017 15:30 - 16:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki
 
Tuesday, June 13
 

11:00

SP Dirk Eitzen. The “Post-Truth” Phenomenon: Where It Comes From, How It Works, Why it Matters
Limited Capacity seats available

The past decade or so in the U.S. has seen the rise of a breed of shameless liars in the media and politics, culminating in the election of liar-in-chief Donald Trump. Alarmed journalists and confounded critics have gone so far as to label this the post-truth era. My presentation reviews common journalistic diagnoses of the "post-truth" syndrome, explains how they in some respects fundamentally misunderstand it, and proposes a more fruitful framework for making sense of what is going on. 

Speakers
avatar for Dirk Eitzen

Dirk Eitzen

Franklin & Marshall College
Dirk Eitzen is the director of the Film & Media Studies program at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He has produced several nationally broadcast documentaries for U.S. public television and, among other scholarly works, has recently published theoretical essays... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 11:00 - 11:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

11:30

SP Philip Hohle. Heroes Without a Film, Films Without a Hero: Herophobic Voices in Postmodern Independent Cinema
Limited Capacity seats available

By staying independent, have postmodern filmmakers begun to remake the classic hero by means of alternative conventions? Certainly, while festival circuits may seem to be out of the mainstream of cultural influence, many of these independent films eventually appear on Netflix cues next to those with more classic Hollywood forms. While some argue that Hollywood may not yet be undergoing such a permanent shift, the adventuresome viewer with a well-used streaming account is certain to feel it now.

As one examines herophobic films featuring protagonists on aimless journeys saturated with aheroic agency, once may ask if the classic hero has begun to languish within our collective consciousness. Critics and scholars are invited to pay close attention to the long-term social consequences of this new monomyth—cultural narratives that replace the orthodox heroic protagonist with the aheroic model. These are heroes who, at best, do nothing at all of consequence and take no moral stand. At worse, they find redemption in unapologetic rage and revenge—bringing back to their community not an elixir, but a poison. These are stories by filmmakers who substitute a coherent and pro-social teleology with a fragmented journey toward meaninglessness and destruction.

In this session, we will examine a selection of notoriously aheroic protagonists in independent films screened at top-tier festivals over the last several years. 


Speakers
avatar for Philip Hohle

Philip Hohle

Assoc. Professor of Communication, Concordia University Texas
Philip J. Hohle, Ph.D. was a contributor to the Winter 2016 issue of Projections, where he demonstrated the role of the viewer in interpreting and making sense of films—especially those with transgressive protagonist-heroes. This is his second SCSMI conference presentation.


Tuesday June 13, 2017 11:30 - 12:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

13:00

LP Monika Suckfüll. The Effects of Information Gaps in Movies
Limited Capacity seats available

In movies belonging to the so-called ‘Berlin School’ information is withheld on purpose. The resulting information gaps are disruptive for the viewer. They complicate the reception, but at the same time the left-out information can increase the viewer’s cognitive processing. In an empirical study, 50 persons saw a movie of full length. Electromyographic measurements, changes in heart rate, and eye tracking data are related to scenes of the movie, in which information is intentionally withheld in different ways.


Speakers
avatar for Monika Suckfüll

Monika Suckfüll

Professor, The Berlin University of the Arts
Monika Suckfüll received her PhD in Psychology in 1997. In 2004 she introduced her research program ‘Modes of Reception’. Since 2005 she is professor of Media and Communication Studies at the Berlin University of the Arts. She is head of the ‘Cinebox’, a laboratory for reception... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 13:00 - 14:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:00

SP Lyubov Bugaeva. Narrative Gaps and Cinematic Lacunae, or what is going on when the film “holds its breath”
Limited Capacity seats available

Film narration entails certain taboos and restrictions, including the obvious ones that are tied to story development from its set-up to rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution, and to the necessity to keep a spectator immersed in a film’s action. Despite the fact that “action is the fundamental narrative element” (Chatman 1975: 213), the cinematic story occasionally “holds its breath” (B. Eichenbaum) and as if takes a pause. Films may contain digressions that slow down the plot development. These cinematic lacunae are not ellipses, however, the lack they create in film narration inform the audience that a communication is intended and trigger the mental process of filling blanks, lacunae, and indeterminacies. 

What cognitive mechanisms underlie the capacity to fill the gap with a satisfying interpretation? Where do we look while filling the gap or going through an episode in which a character passes from one place to another without the movement contributing much to plot development? What do we pay attention to and what do we ignore? Does the film really “hold its breath”? What does eye tracking tell us about watching cinematic lacunae? What is the meaning of ‘ligature’ episodes, besides being a means to keep coherence? The paper explores the narrative gaps and cinematic lacunae when film narrative balances on the verge of its existence. In the focus of attention are experimental film narratives by Andrei Tarkovsky, Alexei Balabanov, and Alexander Sokurov.

 


Speakers
avatar for Lyubov Bugaeva

Lyubov Bugaeva

Associate Professor, St. Petersburg State University
Lyubov Bugaeva is a researcher in cinema and literature, Dr hab (2012) and PhD (1995), Associate Professor at St. Petersburg State University, Russia. She is the founder of the Kinotext Group in St. Petersburg, the author of Literature and rite de passage (St. Petersburg, 2010) and... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 14:00 - 14:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:30

SP Maria Poulaki. Transformative continuity
Limited Capacity seats available

This presentation will make a case for 'transformative continuity' in audiovisual scenes with camera movement without (overt) editing, examples of which I will discuss.
I will focus on cognitive-embodied and in particular attentional and immersive aspects and effects of transformative continuity, linked to the notion of absorption. I will argue that, instead of retaining attention by means of (classical or post-classical/ intensified) continuity editing, the effect created through transformative continuity is one akin to hypnosis: the over-anchoring of attention to one object- of superimposed, or unfolding images. By focusing attention on the same plane which however opens up to multiple planes and unfolds through layering, the function of transformative continuity is not primarily one of disambiguation and space-time coordination in a naturalistic (diegetic) environment, but one of increased ambiguity that qualitatively alters the engagement of the viewer with the image. 


Speakers
MP

Maria Poulaki

University of Surrey
Maria Poulaki is Lecturer in Film Studies and Digital Media Arts at the University of Surrey. She studied psychology before turning to media psychology, cultural analysis and cinema studies. She is the co-editor of Compact Cinematics (with P. Hesselberth, Bloomsbury 2017) and Narrative... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 14:30 - 15:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

15:00

SP Mario Slugan. Bazinian Idenitity as an Alternative to Indexicality for Distinguishing between Analog and Digital Photography
Limited Capacity seats available

The presentation argues that although the ontological distinction between digital and analog cannot be grounded in indexicality, an alternative method of discrimanation can be provided - the relation of identity (initially articulated by Bazin).

Speakers
avatar for Mario Slugan

Mario Slugan

Postdoctoral Associate Fellow, University of Warwick
Mario Slugan is a Postdoctoral Associate Fellow at the University of Warwick working on the intersection between philosophy, film, and literature. He has presented at numerous conferences including SCSMI and SCMS and his articles have appeared or have been accepted in publications... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 15:00 - 15:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

16:00

SP Johannes Riis. The balancing of performer expressiveness against narrative objects of emotion
Limited Capacity seats available

In my paper, I will view performer expressiveness in terms of aesthetic properties. In addition to communicative functions, we may look for balance of performer expressiveness and objects of emotion in the narrative, thus viewing narrative structure and performances as part of an integral whole. I will discuss Bette Davis in Jezebel (1938), The Letter (1940) and The Little Foxes (1941).


Speakers
avatar for Johannes Riis

Johannes Riis

associate professor, University of Copenhagen
Johannes Riis is associate professor of film studies at University of Copenhagen and the author of a book and multiple articles on film acting. He is currently working on a book on the history of film acting styles, between 1920 and 1980.


Tuesday June 13, 2017 16:00 - 16:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

16:30

LP Robert Blanchet. The misunderstanding of “understanding”: Empathizing with film characters on the level of action and motivation
Limited Capacity seats available

I will argue that when spectators say, or think, that they can understand a morally flawed character, such as Walter White from “Breaking Bad”, they are not referring to a simulatory process of mind reading, or shared emotions, as most contemporary theories of empathy would have it. Instead, I propose that what we mean when we use expressions like “I can understand that Walter lied to his family” or “it’s understandable that he went into drug trafficking” is that the character’s reasons for acting, at least in part, justify or excuse his action, while, all things considered, we remain critical of the action from our own point of view. However, to arrive at the acknowledgement that I, too, can accept at least some of the other’s reasons as good ones, I have to focus my attention on what drove him to act as he did in the first place, rather than just appraise that action from the point of view of how it affects my own concerns (my goals, my moral principles etc.). It is this seemingly trivial stepping out of my egocentric perspective on the world, and mental focusing on the other that makes the process of understanding an empathic act, according to my theory. Hence, I reject the view that empathy requires me to imagine something about myself. Secondly, I will show how this theory about empathy on the level of action and motivation can contribute to the solution of the sympathy for the devil paradox.


Speakers
avatar for Robert Blanchet

Robert Blanchet

University of Zurich
Robert Blanchet teaches at the Institute of Cinema Studies at the University of Zurich where he is working on his dissertation on a new theory of empathy. He is the author of Blockbuster: Ästhetik, Ökonomie und Geschichte des postklassischen Hollywoodkinos (2003), the co-editor... Read More →


Tuesday June 13, 2017 16:30 - 17:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki
 
Wednesday, June 14
 

09:30

LP Eliot Bessette. Fear without Empathy and Empathy with Fear
Limited Capacity seats available

In this presentation I argue against the standard picture of empathy in horror films: that audiences tend to empathize with the fear of psychologically rich and morally positive characters. Instead I propose that the preponderance of scary scenes in horror films elicit non-empathetic fear in audiences. Audiences are most apt to empathize with characters’ fear when it occurs in unfrightening scenes in non-horror films. I note briefly in conclusion that audiences may empathize with horror film character feelings other than fear, like sadness or love.


Speakers
avatar for Eliot Bessette

Eliot Bessette

University of California, Berkeley
Eliot Bessette is a doctoral candidate in Film and Media at the University of California, Berkeley. He is writing a dissertation, “Thinking Through Fear in Film and Haunts,” which argues that horror films and haunted house attractions offer unique and visceral opportunities for... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 09:30 - 10:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

10:30

SP Lucia Cores Sarría. The walking eye: An ecological approach to mobile framing
Limited Capacity seats available

By manipulating the position of the camera, filmmakers can break the limitations of a fixed field of view and create optical transformations psychologically meaningful to the audience. The present work reconsiders the basic types of mobile framing from the theoretical perspective of ecological perception. The optics of mobile framing are analyzed by looking at two aspects: the amount of depth information yielded by the optic flow, and the type of event it specifies.

Speakers
avatar for Lucía Cores Sarría

Lucía Cores Sarría

PhD Student, Indiana University-Bloomington
I am a second year PhD student in Media and Cognitive Science at Indiana University-Bloomington, supported by a Fulbright fellowship. I am interested in using experimental methods, such as psychophysiological measurements, to study the effects of camera framing manipulations (e.g... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 10:30 - 11:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

11:00

SP Peter Turner: Personal imagining and the point-of-view shot in diegetic camera horror films
Limited Capacity seats available

This paper will explore the concept of ‘personal imagining’ in relation to the viewer’s cognition while watching horror films that utilise the diegetic camera as a narrational and aesthetic strategy. By looking at the cinematographic techniques in a range of scenes from found footage horror films, I will establish how the viewer is encouraged to have very specific imaginings about what is occurring behind the camera in off-screen space.

I will build on the ideas of Gregory Currie and Noël Burch and particularly Currie’s claim that the viewer does not simply imagine the events of the film occurring, but in the case of point-of-view shots, imagines seeing the events from that particular perspective. I believe that viewers of diegetic camera horror films are forced to imagine seeing (personal imagining) because their perception of the film is limited to what Edward Branigan calls a continuing point-of-view shot.


Speakers
avatar for Peter Turner

Peter Turner

Oxford Brookes University
PhD student completing my thesis on priming, self-consciousness, personal imagining and allegiance in the diegetic camera horror film.Bio: Peter Turner is an associate lecturer at Oxford Brookes University where he teaches on a range of Film Studies undergraduate modules. He is nearing... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 11:00 - 11:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

13:00

LP Todd Berliner: Bursting into Song in the Hollywood Musical
Limited Capacity seats available

This presentation traces the history and aesthetic experience of the convention that characters in Hollywood musicals spontaneously burst into song without realistic motivation. The convention emerged in 1929 and largely vanished by 1960. Illustrated with clips from The Jazz Singer, Love Me Tonight, Top Hat, and other films, the presentation studies how filmmakers developed novel conventions that exploited the aesthetic possibilities of song in cinema. 


Speakers
avatar for Todd Berliner

Todd Berliner

Professor of Film Studies, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Keywords: Film aesthetics, style, and storytelling.Todd Berliner, Professor of Film Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, teaches film aesthetics, narration, and style and American film history. He is an SCSMI fellow and officer and the author of Hollywood Aesthetic... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 13:00 - 14:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:00

SP Jeff Smith. Scoring the Warner Bros. Crime Film: From Little Caesar To White Heat
Limited Capacity seats available

This paper traces the development of film scoring techniques in crime films produced by Warner Bros. from 1930 to 1949. It highlights three factors that accounted for a precipitous increase in the amount of music that appeared in these films: 1) technological improvements, such as the push-pull soundtrack and rerecording techniques, 2) the rise in status of the crime film as part of the studio's offerings, and 3) the psychological turn in the genre that became more prominent throughout the 1940s.

Speakers
JS

Jeff Smith

University of Wisconsin-Madison
Jeff Smith is the author of THE SOUNDS OF COMMERCE: MARKETING POPULAR FILM MUSIC and FILM CRITICISM, THE COLD WAR, AND THE BLACKLIST: READING HOLLYWOOD'S REDS. He is also a co-author, along with David Bordwell and Kristin Thompson, for the eleventh edition of FILM ART: AN INTRODU... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 14:00 - 14:30
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki

14:30

SP Sam Roggen. Planimetric Staging and Pictorial Flatness in 1950s CinemaScope: A Systematic Style Analysis
Limited Capacity seats available

This paper, which is part of a research project on film style in early American widescreen cinema, studies the mechanics of the planimetric or clothesline composition in CinemaScope, while also examining its connections with contemporaneous creative movements. It adopts a historical-analytical poetics of cinema, based on quantitative as well as qualitative analyses, in order to explore how CinemaScope affected the staging patterns and shot compositions of Hollywood studio films in the 1950s, with particular attention for flatness and horizontality.


Speakers
avatar for Sam Roggen

Sam Roggen

Teaching and research assistant, PhD student, University of Antwerp
Sam Roggen is a teaching and research assistant and PhD candidate in Film Studies and Visual Culture at the University of Antwerp. In his PhD, he examines film style in early American widescreen cinema, with particular attention for the CinemaScope format. His articles on film criticism... Read More →


Wednesday June 14, 2017 14:30 - 15:00
A-301 Room, Töölö Campus, Aalto University (3rd floor) Runeberginkatu 14-16, Helsinki