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Embodied VisionsEvolution, Emotion, Culture and Film$
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Torben Grodal

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195371314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195371314.001.0001

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Art Film, the Transient Body, and the Permanent Soul

Art Film, the Transient Body, and the Permanent Soul

(p.205) 9 Art Film, the Transient Body, and the Permanent Soul
Embodied Visions

Torben Grodal

Oxford University Press

The chapter analyzes the concepts and modes of representation that characterize films as art and discuss some of the reasons for the limited appeal of “high art” to a mass audience. The main argument is that a key difference between art films and mainstream films rests on the difference between portraying “permanent” as opposed to “transient” meanings. Our basic experiences of the world are transient in the sense that they stem from concrete, present tense interactions with the world, involving a constant PECMA flow. However, not all our experiences are of this kind. Our ability to recall the past and to construct schemas creates fields of more “permanent” meanings, and our ability to produce abstract concepts likewise gives rise to experiences that are beyond the transient level of concrete interaction. High art typically avoids the middle level of concrete (narrative) interaction in order either to evoke abstract and/or subjective permanent meanings, or to activate a “lower” level of perceptual meaning, “style.” Permanent meanings are often felt to exist only in our minds, not in the objective exterior world. Works of high art will therefore appear to us both as “subjective” and as expressing certain permanent, “eternal,” or spiritual meanings.

Keywords:   art film, autobiographical self, film emotions, art theory, film theory, Damasio

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