Out of sight : resemblance, illusion and cinematic perception


Authors
Karen Bardsley
McGill University
Abstract
In my thesis I develop a theory of our mental, physiological and emotional involvement with motion pictures that accounts for the distinct role of perception in our cinematic experiences. In particular, I present a resemblance view of cinematic perception and depiction that begins with an analysis of motion picture screenings as events in the world to which audience members share perceptual access and to which we can attribute complex visual and auditory properties. By understanding the precise nature of these properties and by understanding the mind's rich and dynamic relationship to visual and auditory stimuli, we can meet the demand of explaining the essential contribution of perception to our cinematic experiences. This positive theory is introduced through a philosophical and empirical critique of the work of several contemporary "cognitivist" film theorists who can been faulted for falling into the traps of traditional illusion accounts, failing to account for the perceptual nature of our film experiences, or incorrectly characterizing the nature of our perceptual relationship to cinematic content.
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