A triangular approach to science filmmaking
Devereux, Anne Catherine.
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The discipline of film studies is often limited by its own obsessions. Approaches designed to illuminate how we view films, and make films, often limit our thinking, instead. It is not surprising that the analysis of such an extraordinary medium presents endless arguments, debate and inspires the critic or theorist to narrow the field of view in order to make it manageable. Recent work in the fields of cognitive psychology and neuroscience which, when applied to our critical analyses of film, is changing the discipline of film studies. In conjunction with traditional narratology, this interdisciplinary approach enables us to reconfigure the relationship between narrative and spectacle, creating a triangular relationship that draws attention to discourse. This triangular approach affords a more nuanced and comprehensive analysis of how science documentaries affect viewers. In turn, these analyses encourage science filmmakers to recognize discourse as a means of creating more emotionally powerful, aesthetically coherent, and memorable science films. Like a great mind, the discipline of film studies flourishes most when it remains open. The creation of this triangular analytical relationship is merely one way of enhancing our ability to study the effects films have on an audience, on the future of the medium, and on aesthetics as a whole. In seeking an academic and theoretical basis for the gut level notion that films affect us both emotionally and intellectually, it is critical to chart an interdisciplinary course.