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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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The Experience of Audiovisual Realism

The Experience of Audiovisual Realism

(p.250) 11 The Experience of Audiovisual Realism
Embodied Visions

Torben Grodal

Oxford University Press

This chapter analyzes what viewers experience as real and argues that the feeling of realism is only loosely linked to what is actually real. It describes the explicit or tacit feelings that label the reality status of perceptions, cognitions, and actions, and shows that such feelings are shorthand tags for the way in which brain circuits evaluate the reality status of experiences in order to decide whether the embodied brain can act, “go,” or not. The go-signal is feelings of realism and the stop-signal is feelings of unrealness; physical or mental actions in fictions provide realism, and documentary representations may provide a lyrical and “unrealistic” feelings if they do not afford actions. The author discusses different types of realism: perceptual realism in contrast to categorical realism, which deals with what is generally and abstractly real; and discusses those types of realism that mimic direct reporting and use perceptual imperfections to warrant that this is a real, unstaged representation. Last, the chapter discusses the psychological reasons that films portraying negative experiences are traditionally more often called realistic than those that portray positive events, and why postmodern skepticism toward realism is unwarranted.

Keywords:   realist films, film emotions, fiction theory, documentary film, reality status of film

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