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An investigation of affect in the cinema: Spectacle and the melodramatic rhetoric in Nil by Mouth

Presence, Steve

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Abstract

This article argues that the affective, visceral dimension of cinema spectatorship is a central component of our engagment with cinema. With reference to Tom Gunning's work on the cinema of attractions, I suggest that cinematic spectacle is affective by nature and is pervasive in contemporary narrative cinema, buried in the melodramatic tropes of realism as much as it is overtly present in action cinema. Drawing on Christian Metz's work on the nature of our relationship to the cinematic image, I explore the operation of affect via Nil By Mouth's use of close-up, colour, setting and voice. Claiming this intensely realist film as melodrama, I show how the spectacular qualities of its melodramatic mise-en-scene give rise to the film's astonishing affective power.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 2013
Journal Frames Cinema Journal
Print ISSN 2053-8812
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 2
APA6 Citation Presence, S. (2013). An investigation of affect in the cinema: Spectacle and the melodramatic rhetoric in Nil by Mouth
Keywords Nil By Mouth, affect, melodrama, realism, cinema of attractions, Tom Gunning, spectacle, Christian Metz
Publisher URL http://framescinemajournal.com/article/an-investigation-of-affect-in-the-cinema-spectacle-and-the-melodramatic-rhetoric-in-nil-by-mouth/

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