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Between narrative and cognitive approaches : film theory of non-linearity applied to Hungarian movies
Published inJyväskylä studies in humanities (e-julkaisut)
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The narrative game of film structure and manipulation of temporality has no effect on the chronological flow of our everyday life, but it may enrich our perceptual access, memory use, cognitive abilities, experience of reality, with new dimensions. In the present thesis, I would like to survey the stakes of the game situation of non-linearity with a narrative and cognitive starting point. According to my hypothesis the mode of narration, and within this, “the game situation of non-linearity with a narrative and cognitive starting point” is connected to the meaning being formed by the recipient. To understand and find these connections is the ambition of this present work. In conformity with this, I would like to map the preconditions for the comprehension of nonlinearity. I could not simply settle for this strategy naturally: taking the theoretical by-pass of comprehending comprehension, I will analyse the selected Hungarian films with the use of these findings as a feedback for the concrete examples. As I believe the by-passes of comprehending comprehension are not useless digressions. The approach from the “use” provides a further point of feedback for the original aims of interpretation of the given film. How and mainly, for what can visual information be used? Through what effects do the answers to these questions influence the strategies of the production side? When watching a film, in what relation are the individual and universal mental processes of reception with the formal-structural, for example, non-linear editing features of the given film? The possible answers for these questions cannot neglect practical viewpoints, as an approach from use favours contexts of comprehension after all. The mode of approach contextualised, “made practical” through use is cognitive psychology itself, realised through activity, and recipient decisions. But “[w]hat is cognitive psychology? It is concerned with the internal processes involved in making sense of the environment, and deciding what action might be appropriate” (Eysenck and Keane, 2005, 1). To project this logic to the field of this work, the statement regarding active recipient role can be said in advance, according to which non-linear narrative “is not a question of syntax, but a question of discourse, a way of telling something. So, continuity is not a syntatic question, but a question of how you choose what you have to say” (Valkola, 1993, 47). ...
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