Film Worlds: A Philosophical Aesthetics of Cinema
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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.
ongoing interior, so-called intrasubjective dialogue that the viewer shares with it, in its post–film experience phase, as now also public and addressed to others (e.g., intersubjectively discussing or writing about films), this understanding evolves into a far more comprehensive (and comprehending) process. Yet it is still one that is, in terms of its results, highly revisable. As is the case during a film, but now from a more privileged position (the entirety of the work having been experienced
worlds in terms of their artistic (i.e., aesthetically symbolic and affective) truth and value. Experiencing, coming to know, the revealed and interpreted truths of films is frequently satisfying, pleasurable, and intensely exciting, including in those ways that we might attempt to define (and defend) as uniquely aesthetic or responsive to art. And although other types of pleasure and delight in the wonders of cinematic media and their use (which will no doubt continue on their track of technical
Emotion, 44. 9. Gaut, Philosophy of Cinematic Art, 244. 10. See, e.g., Smith, Engaging Characters; Plantinga and Smith, Passionate Views; Carroll, Philosophy of Mass Art, 245–90; and Carroll, Engaging the Moving Image, 59–87. 11. See Turvey, “Seeing Theory”; see also Allen, “Looking at Motion Pictures (Revised)”; and Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, 193–208. 12. See Carroll, Engaging the Moving Image, 68–74; see also Gaut, who defends a version of the widely held character
four separate images within the frame, the contents of each image situated in its own, often entirely noncontiguous sector of represented time and space. In these cases one film in effect provides the sensory inputs and experience of many, such that a number of individual viewers may watch Playtime or Timecode and, depending on which parts of the screen they attend to at particular moments (to the necessary exclusion of others), each will experience a “different” film in a more than figurative
have described as a film’s prominent “world-markers” in their more perceptually and affectively transient aspects. For instance, it may reside in the way that a given scene is staged, a shot framed, an object lit, or the tone of a voice-over narration. Or it may involve a film’s selection and presentation of the aforementioned inherently expressive realities, if and when a film appropriates these to its own artistic ends, as recognized and appreciated by the viewer, who is moved accordingly. The