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Title: A poetics of time and timing in the moving image
Author: Schempp, Alaina
ISNI:       0000 0004 8499 7636
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2019
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Time is an aesthetic feature of film and the moving image that we cannot see, hear, touch, taste, or smell. Beyond music, it is difficult to imagine an artform that places more importance on time as an aesthetic feature, yet questions surrounding how time affects the emotions in film and other moving images such as television and video have largely been overlooked. Taking an analytic-cognitive approach, my original contribution to knowledge aims to fill this gap by uncovering the ways in which time and the temporal relations between and among images, sounds, actions, and events (or what I will generalise as the 'audio-visual makeup' of film) affect our emotions during film engagement. The general claim of this dissertation is that emotional engagement with a film is not solely the domain of sound and picture, but of time as well. Filmmakers can manipulate the temporal relations within and throughout the audio-visual makeup of a film through cinematic means involving the mise-en-scène, cinematography, and sound. Through a close analysis of examples from predominantly contemporary narrative film with some relevant references to television and video, this dissertation seeks to demonstrate that time and the temporal relations within and throughout the audio-visual makeup of film influence emotional engagement with narrative films. By focusing mainly on three emotion-driven genres, including horror, suspense-thriller, and comedy, my analyses will seek to demonstrate that manipulating the temporal relations within and throughout the audio-visual makeup helps generate emotions. Refining and expanding Susan Feagin's (1999) conceptualisation of timing in film, which she defines as the duration and durational relations between and among images, I develop a theory of affective timing, which aims to explore the ways in which cinematic timing affects viewers emotionally by generating or enhancing affects such as suspense, surprise, and humour. This dissertation argues that just as it matters what happens on screen or in the soundtrack, so too it matters when something happens on screen. In my view, timing is affective when the duration and durational relations within and throughout the audio-visual makeup of a film help generate emotional responses in viewers, which makes affective timing the art of when. By adopting and adapting certain terms from the study of music such as pacing, beats, and rhythm, this dissertation also seeks to advance a productive lexicon for the further discussion of the relationship between the temporal nature of film and emotion or what I call affective temporality.
Supervisor: Smith, Murray ; Bruun Vaage, Margrethe Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available