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.
Narcissus, or modern travel after a number of Wenders’s films. Nor is Rome the same after La dolce vita, or Los Angeles and its environs (including Hollywood) after Mulholland Drive. Fellini’s and Lynch’s film worlds are not capable of altering the physical environment of these cities, of course. But they reveal new perceptual, aesthetic, cultural, mythical, and historical facets or dimensions of these places that would in a significant sense not have been revealed had these specially created
attention to itself as an artistic and stylistic feature (meaningful as such)—in addition, that is, to this presentation also conveying and explicating the psychology of characters and their actions. In sum, we have now started to develop a clearer picture, at least intuitively, of what the suggested world-of a film (as distinct from the world-in that it includes) may be seen to comprise. Represented and fictional realities, and the larger story-world of which they are a part, are contained
another and related film theory and criticism, they aptly reflect film art’s simultaneous appeal to our senses, emotions, and intellects. That said, this book does not undertake the task of defending the several, so-called analytic and continental aesthetic theories and philosophies of art discussed but, rather, seeks to apply relevant parts of them to cinema. And it seeks to do so in such a way that will not only better illuminate the artistic and aesthetic aspects of films and their worlds but
critical and theoretical approaches, or even within them, with respect to this proposed description, or analogy. The numerous and varied senses of world in these contexts, as well as in general aesthetics and the philosophy of art, range from the clearly metaphorical (and often unanalyzed) to certain contemporary attempts to invest such “world talk” with more literal (and logical) meaning and precision. Concerning any representational art form, there is an important but too often neglected
feeling of “poetic justice,” given Shand’s situation, or an empathetic or sympathetic identification with the character (however violent and immoral his previous behavior). But this story-rooted emotional identification and projection is also likely combined, or concurrent with, the viewer’s by-this-point developed feelings toward the film work of which this culminating close-up is a major part, in the form of a formal-artistic expression and exemplification tied to the film’s meaning(s) and