Self-reflection: Beyond Conventional Fiction Film Engagement

Nordicom Review 30:159-178 (2009)
Margrethe Vaage
University of Kent at Canterbury
Idiosyncratic responses as more strictly personal responses to fiction film that vary across individual spectators. In philosophy of film, idiosyncratic responses are often deemed inappropriate, unwarranted and unintended by the film. One type of idiosyncratic response is when empathy with a character triggers the spectator to reflect on his own real life issues. Self-reflection can be triggered by egoistic drift, where the spectator starts imagining himself in the character’s shoes, by re-experiencing memories, or by unfamiliar experiences that draw the spectator’s attention. Film may facilitate self-reflection by slowing down narrative development and making the narrative indeterminate. Such scenes make idiosyncratic responses, such as self-reflection, appropriate and intended. Fiction film is a safe context for the spectator to reflect on personal issues, as it also affords him with distancing techniques if the reflection becomes too painful or unwanted. The fictional context further encourages self-reflection in response to empathy, as the spectator is relieved from real life moral obligations to help the other.
Keywords spectator engagement  fiction film  idiosyncratic responses  empathy
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Fiction Film and the Varieties of Empathic Engagement.Margrethe Bruun Vaage - 2010 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 34 (1):158-179.

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