Over hoge toppen en door diepe dalen

Emotionele betrokkenheid bij thriller- en dramafilms.

Sander van Yperen

 

Doctoraalscriptie
Theater-, Film- en Televisiewetenschappen
 

Mei 2004

Universiteit Utrecht

Begeleider: Jčmeljan Hakemulder

Tweede lezer: Eggo Müller

home lijst scripties inhoud volgende

samenvatting  /  summary in English

 

Voorwoord

 

1 Inleiding

1.1 Over hoge toppen en door diepe dalen

1.2 Probleemstellingen en methoden van onderzoek

1.3 Theoretisch kader

1.4 Wetenschappelijk en maatschappelijk belang

1.5 Definities van onderwerp en begrippen

1.6 Oprechte emoties naar aanleiding van speelfilms

1.7 Overzicht van deze studie

 

2 Theorie

2.1 Emotiepsychologie

    2.1.1 Emotietheorieën

    2.1.2 Emotietheorie van Nico Frijda

2.2 Communicatie- en filmwetenschappelijke literatuur

    2.2.1 Involvement en Parasocial interaction

    2.2.2 Interesse en aandacht

    2.2.3 Het diëgetisch effect

    2.2.4 Presence en onderdompeling

    2.2.5 Identificatie en empathie

    2.2.6 De rol van filmgenres, thema's en suspens

2.3 Conclusie hoofdstuk 2

 

3 Empirisch onderzoek

3.1 Inleiding

3.2 Empirisch onderzoek met betrekking tot interesse

    3.2.1 Empirisch onderzoek betreffende aandacht

    3.2.2 De invloed van technische omstandigheden van de vertoning

    3.2.3 Conclusie over empirisch onderzoek naar interesse

3.3 Empirisch onderzoek met betrekking tot het diëgetisch effect

    3.3.1 De invloed van technische omstandigheden van de vertoning

    3.3.2 Overig onderzoek met betrekking tot het diëgetisch effect

    3.3.3 Conclusie over empirisch onderzoek naar het diëgetisch effect

3.4 Empirisch onderzoek met betrekking tot empathie

    3.4.1 Empirisch bewijs dat de voorkeur voor empathie rechtvaardigt

    3.4.2 Onderzoek betreffende de 'moral judgment theory'

    3.4.3 De invloed van de filmische middelen op de affectieve dispositie van toeschouwers

    3.4.4 Conclusie over empirisch onderzoek naar empathie

3.5 Empirisch onderzoek met betrekking tot suspens

3.6 Conclusie hoofdstuk 3

 

4 Analyse

4.1 Inleiding

4.2 Analyse The Elephant Man

4.2.1 Korte artistieke informatie en verhaalomschrijving

    4.2.2 Analyse van de film

        4.2.2.1 Interesse

        4.2.2.2 Het diëgetisch effect

        4.2.2.3 Empathie

    4.2.3 Conclusie analyse The Elephant Man

4.3 Analyse Seven

    4.3.1 Korte artistieke informatie en verhaalomschrijving

    4.3.2 Analyse van de film

        4.3.2.1 Interesse

        4.3.2.2 Het diëgetisch effect

        4.3.2.3 Empathie

        4.3.2.4 Suspens

    4.3.3 Conclusie analyse Seven

4.4 Conclusie hoofdstuk 4

 

5 Conclusie

5.1 Samenvatting

5.2 De resultaten van deze scriptie

5.3 Beperkingen van deze scriptie en suggesties voor vervolgonderzoek

5.4 Slotconclusie: beantwoording probleemstelling

 

Literatuurlijst

 

 

Samenvatting

 

(for a summary in English, click here).

 

De titel van deze scriptie verwijst naar de verschillende toestanden waarin toeschouwers terecht kunnen komen als gevolg van hun emotionele betrokkenheid bij de personages van speelfilms. Emotionele betrokkenheid kan omschreven worden als het verschijnsel waarbij kijkers een gevoel van verbondenheid hebben ten opzichte van de personages en waarbij het meeleven met die personages bij het publiek een persoonlijke ervaring teweegbrengt, die gepaard kan gaan met fysiologische veranderingen.

Het doel van deze scriptie was de filmwetenschappelijke literatuur over de wijze waarop speelfilms kijkers beďnvloeden, met name theorieën van Ed Tan en Dolf Zillmann, uit te breiden en te verdiepen, en zodoende een belangrijk fenomeen te verklaren waar speelfilms en de filmindustrie mede hun roem aan te danken hebben. Als theoretisch kader hiervoor werd het cognitivisme gekozen omdat deze stroming zich richt op de processen die zich in de hoofden van toeschouwers afspelen, breed georiënteerd is, past bij de opvattingen van Frijda, Tan en Zillmann en bovendien een grote rol toebedeelt aan empirisch onderzoek.

In deze scriptie is geprobeerd een antwoord te vinden op de vraag: Hoe roepen speelfilms (met name thriller- en dramafilms) emotionele betrokkenheid op bij toeschouwers? Om hierop een breed en stevig gefundeerd antwoord te kunnen geven, is ervoor gekozen een koppeling te maken tussen theorie (hoe wordt verondersteld dat emotionele betrokkenheid door een speelfilm (van de genres thriller of drama) opgeroepen wordt?), empirisch onderzoek (wat staat empirisch vast over de wijze waarop emotionele betrokkenheid opgeroepen wordt door een speelfilm?) en analyse (welke mogelijkheden hebben filmmakers om emotionele betrokkenheid op te roepen bij de toeschouwers?). De analyse bestond uit het bestuderen van The Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980) voor het genre drama en Seven (Fincher, 1995) voor het genre thriller. Zodoende ontstaat middels de inventarisatie van empirisch onderzoek en middels de analyse van twee speelfilms een indicatie van de empirische waarde van de theorie. Daarin ligt de verdienste van deze scriptie: Niet alleen wordt een theorie gevormd, deze wordt ook op twee manieren getoetst, waardoor de theorie meer waarde krijgt.

De eerste fase van het vormen van een theorie over emotionele betrokkenheid bestond uit het onderzoeken van hoe emotionele betrokkenheid überhaupt ontstaat, dus los van het medium film. Als leidraad daarin werd de emotietheorie van Nico Frijda gekozen. Toegepast op speelfilms ontstaat emotionele betrokkenheid bij toeschouwers door het in bepaalde mate delen van belangen door kijkers en personages. Belangen zijn te omschrijven als voorkeuren die iemand heeft wat betreft zijn eigen en andermans toestand. Het (gedeeltelijk) overeenkomen van die belangen heeft tot gevolg dat een gebeurtenis door de betrokken partijen op min of meer dezelfde wijze geďnterpreteerd wordt, met andere woorden dat het zogenaamde appčl (de betekenis van een situatie voor iemand) in bepaalde mate overeenkomt. Het vervolg van de theorie bestaat uit een beschrijving van de drie stappen richting emotionele betrokkenheid, waarin de theorie van Frijda ook doorklinkt.

De eerste stap op weg naar emotionele betrokkenheid is dat de interesse van de toeschouwers door de film opgeroepen wordt, waardoor deze geneigd zijn volledige aandacht daaraan te besteden. De werking van de emotie interesse kan worden beschreven aan de hand van enkele principes waarvan de belangrijkste inhoudt dat hoe meer het publiek beloond wordt voor zijn interesse, hoe meer het geneigd zal zijn te blijven kijken. Er wordt verondersteld dat de bron van emotionele betrokkenheid ligt in de inhoud van speelfilms en dat daarom ook die inhoud in eerste instantie de interesse van het publiek moet oproepen om uiteindelijk tot emotioneel meeleven te komen. Maar de vorm van de speelfilm heeft daar eveneens invloed op door te voldoen aan een aantal stelregels, waardoor de toeschouwers in ieder geval niet op grond van die vorm hun interesse verliezen.

 

Uit een inventarisatie van empirisch onderzoek met betrekking tot interesse kwam naar voren dat zeer weinig onderzoek naar deze emotie is gedaan, maar dat aandacht (het gevolg van interesse) wel ruimschoots is bestudeerd. De resultaten van deze onderzoeken geven de indicatie dat de principes en stelregels van interesse empirisch houdbaar zijn, maar omdat het onderzoek naar aandacht betreft kan hierover geen eenduidig en gegrond eindoordeel geveld worden. In de analyses van Seven en The Elephant Man kwam de waarde van de theorie beter naar voren. Daaruit bleek nogmaals dat de opvattingen over interesse zich waarschijnlijk op het juiste spoor bevinden.

De tweede stap richting emotionele betrokkenheid, die dus kan ontstaan wanneer het publiek geďnteresseerd is, wordt gevormd door het diëgetisch effect. Dit effect bestaat uit zes illusies die gezamenlijk een geloofwaardige fictiewereld en personages creëren, de toeschouwers helpen de gebeurtenissen daarin te begrijpen, hun aandacht doen richten op de inhoud van de beelden in plaats van de vorm en hen het idee geven zelf als onzichtbare getuige in de fictiewereld aanwezig te zijn. Daarbij lijken ook de technische en sociale omstandigheden rond de vertoning invloed te hebben en spelen de toeschouwers zelf in de totstandkoming van het diëgetisch effect een belangrijke rol.

De verschillende illusies van het diëgetisch effect beschikken over wisselende empirische ondersteuning. Enkele illusies kunnen slechts met indirect bewijs onderbouwd worden, terwijl andere onderzocht zijn in maar een beperkt aantal experimenten. De meeste illusies kennen echter een overtuigende empirische onderbouwing. De belangrijkste conclusie ten aanzien van de empirische validiteit van het diëgetisch effect kan zijn dat dit effect wel een rol lijkt te spelen in een werkelijke filmervaring, maar dat meer onderzoek daarvoor grotere ondersteuning moet verschaffen. Die ondersteuning is in ieder geval wel te vinden in de analyses van The Elephant Man en Seven, want uit het bestuderen van deze speelfilms kwam naar voren dat met behulp van de filmische middelen (camera, geluid, editing, mise-en-scčne) de verschillende illusies overtuigend kunnen worden opgeroepen.

De derde en laatste stap in het proces dat toeschouwers emotioneel betrokken doet raken bij de personages is empathie, grofweg te omschrijven als een emotionele reactie op een emotionele ervaring van een ander persoon. Dankzij het diëgetisch effect wordt de overeenkomst in het appčl aan personages en kijkers vergroot (beiden 'zijn' in de fictiewereld aanwezig). Een belangrijke veronderstelling is dat hoe groter de mate waarin de belangen van (sommige) personages en toeschouwers overeenkomen (en dus hoe groter de overlapping van de beide appčls), hoe sterker de emotionele betrokkenheid is van de kijkers bij de betreffende personages. De belangen van personages blijken uit hun handelingen en die roepen bij het publiek bepaalde affectieve disposities op jegens hen: positief (met empathie als gevolg) of negatief (onverschilligheid of anti-empathie als reactie). Ook het uiterlijk van personages wordt verondersteld een rol te spelen in die dispositie, hetgeen nadrukkelijk bevestigd is in experimenteel onderzoek. Dit bleek ook in de analyse van The Elephant Man en Seven, maar daarin werd tevens duidelijk dat de affectieve disposities van toeschouwers ten opzichte van personages niet per definitie uitgesproken positief of negatief hoeven te zijn. Ook meer genuanceerde disposities lijken mogelijk.

Ten slotte is in deze scriptie extra aandacht besteed aan het fenomeen suspens besteed omdat tijdens spannende momenten sprake lijkt van zeer sterk meeleven met de personages. De theoretische veronderstellingen erover zijn in empirisch onderzoek ruimschoots bevestigd. Centraal hierin staat de bedreiging van het welzijn van personages, maar in de analyse van met name Seven bleek ook suspens te kunnen ontstaan wanneer het welzijn van personages niet direct in gevaar is. Het lijkt erop dat de filmische middelen een grotere inspraak hebben in het oproepen van spanning dan in de theorie wordt verondersteld.

De eindconclusie van deze scriptie luidt dat speelfilms van de genres thriller en drama emotionele betrokkenheid oproepen bij de toeschouwers door ten eerste hun interesse te wekken, ten tweede door hen het idee te geven zelf in de fictiewereld aanwezig te zijn en ten derde door op hun empathie in te spelen. Met de filmische middelen kunnen filmmakers veel invloed uitoefenen op dit proces, zij het dat de inbreng van de kijkers onmisbaar is om hen uiteindelijk te doen meeleven met de personages.

 

 

Summary in English

 

[Below you will find a summary of my master thesis on emotional involvement with thriller and drama films. As you probably have noticed, only a Dutch version of the thesis itself is available, but I would be honored to give further explanation in English. So, if you have any comment or would like to receive more information, do not hesitate to send an email to: sander_vanyperen@hotmail.com. Thank you for reading this summary.]

 

 

Subject, starting points and contents.

 

The main question of my thesis was: How does a viewer get emotionally involved with thriller and drama films? This emotional involvement during the viewing of the film can be characterized by two elements, namely a friendship-like relationship of the viewer with (some of) the character(s) and (because of that) a personal experience by the spectator, that has psychological and bodily effects.

Before I start discussing the thesis itself, I would like to state some assumptions and starting points that are central in my thesis. First of all, I assume the viewer of a film is active and willing to participate. He or she is eager to think about the film, to experience emotions, to imagine the thoughts or feelings of a character.

Second, the emotions the spectator experiences are true emotions. By that I mean that the emotions experienced during the viewing of a film are similar to those experienced in daily life.

The third and last aspect concerns an important starting point of my thesis. Ed Tan (1991) differentiates between Artefact-emotions and Fiction-emotions. The first group is related to the film as a work of art and concerns for instance the appreciation of the camera work, disappointment about the acting or getting touched by the film music. The second group of emotions is connected with the fiction world that is represented by the film, with the events and characters that are in it. In this presentation I will focus solely on these Fiction-emotions (though it can be assumed that these two types of emotions have mutual influence).

Now the subject is defined and some assumptions and starting points are made clear, a brief list of contents of my thesis. First I explored the notion of emotional involvement in general (not related to film viewing). Then, through a study of scholarly theoretical literature and empirical literature and through an analysis of two films, I researched the three main mechanisms in the evocation of emotional involvement in the spectator. By this theoretical, empirical and analytical examination these steps towards the state of emotional involvement (namely interest, the diegetic effect and empathy) were researched in an extensive way.

 

 

Emotional involvement in general.

 

As first theoretical step, I have considered the notion of emotional involvement, based on the Emotion theory of the Dutch psychologist Nico Frijda (1986). His cognitive approach fitted well to my subject and gave a complete description of the emotion process. In this summary I will describe his theory in simplified, global terms. According to Frijda an emotion is a change in action readiness, an inclination to act. Central in his approach is the meaning of a stimulus (situation) to a person or subject. The situation is analyzed by the subject and evaluated in relation to his of her concerns. Concerns are more or less stable preferences concerning certain states in the world (e.g. safety, food, love, fun). Through that evaluation the relevance of the situation to the concerns of the subject and the possibility to take action are determined. Then a certain so-called situational meaning structure appears to the subject. This is how a person interprets the situation and how he or she plans to respond. From this situating meaning structure derives a certain action readiness, which can possibly result (this is the output of the process) in the experience of this action readiness, behavior and/or physiological changes.

So, in short, emotional involvement is generated when the concerns of two persons (to some extent) resemble. In relation to thriller and drama films, the character has a certain situational meaning structure and the spectator has. In my opinion the range of resemblance between these two, determines the extent of emotional involvement.

 

 

Interest and the diegetic effect

 

After this theory on emotional involvement in general I focused on the three notions that in my opinion are responsible for the evocation of emotional involvement with characters of thriller and drama films. Because of space limitations while this is a brief summary I have decided to focus on the notion that can be viewed of as the most interesting from film scholarly perspective, namely the diegetic effect. But first a short description of the first central notion, interest.

Interest means that the viewer judges a film as promising, as able to provide a pleasant experience. This inclines the spectator to dedicate his or her full perceptual and cognitive capacities to pay attention to the film, to observe the sounds and images, to try to comprehend the story, and so on.

Eventually, the viewer hopes to find rewards for this investment (this full attention). These rewards consist of a cognitive and an affective element. Cognitive means that the story is more or less complete and the viewer comprehends it more or less. Affective rewards contain a situation at the end of the film that fits to the concerns of the spectator (Frijda). A good example of this is that the bad guy gets punished and the good guy gets rewarded. Interest keeps the eyes and ears of the viewer directed to the film and therefore seems an important requirement for the evocation of emotional involvement.

The diegetic effect, the second important mechanism in the creation of emotional involvement, has been described by Noel Burch (1979) as the effect whereby spectators experience the diegetic world as environment. Tan (1991) calls it the illusion to be present in the fiction world. He sees it as a series of illusions (which will be explained below) that give the spectator the impression that he or she is an invisible witness, present at the time and place of the events.

The illusions are preceded by another illusion. The separate frames a film consists of are seen as a continuous movement, if projected at a certain velocity (namely 24 frames per second). This has been described as the stroboscopic movement (Hochberg) or as the ‘phi’-phenomenon (Wertheimer), yet psychologists are still searching for a complete explanation for it (see Hochberg and Brooks, 1978b).

The first illusion of the diegetic effect itself is the blurring of the boundaries between screen and theatre. This was noted by the Belgian psychologist Michotte (1934). Through this blurring the scene of the film seems to extend beyond the borders of the screen, partly in the theatre. The spectator gets the impression he of she is present at the scene and feels like he or she can touch the characters. Cognitive maps the viewer forms in his of her mind support this.

This first illusion is helped by another (second) impression. That concerns the visual and auditive perception of objects, characters and space. The perception of the fiction world is experienced as being highly similar to the perception of daily life. This is mainly due to the movement of characters and objects and the movement of the camera, that is, the cinematography of the film is adapted to the events. Most of the time it is just the pure registration of the events, just like a real witness would registrate the events.

The next illusion is called the illusion of the apparent objectivity of the fiction world. That means first of all that this world seems to exist independently of the film, before and after the showed events take place. Second, in films that try to get the viewer emotionally involved, signs that refer to the making of the film, to the artefact (the work of art), are hidden as far as possible. Some signs, like cuts, for instance, can always be seen. But spectators never see film crew and most of the time actors ignore the camera, to give the idea that these events would have taken place if the camera wouldn’t be there. However for the creation of the diegetic effect it doesn’t seem a problem if there are some signs of the film as artefact, yet the number of signs should be restricted, because otherwise the attention could be drawn too much to the artefact (and, thus, not to the fiction world).

The fourth illusion of the diegetic effect is called the ‘guided spectator’. This deals with the fact that the filmmakers decide what the viewer sees. He or she can’t choose what events are shown. This has advantages, but also disadvantages. Sometimes it’s difficult (e.g. when there are cruel, scary or dramatic scenes), sometimes it’s boring, sometimes it’s easy and amusing. This guidance by the film makers also means that they are in the position to manipulate the knowledge of the spectators.

The fifth illusion deals with the interpretation of the characters and events in the fiction world. The filmmakers force a certain meaning on to the viewer, for whom it’s difficult to escape this certain interpretation. This seems the case in thriller and drama films, where emotional involvement is important. If the viewer is confused about what’s happening, it seems that it is more difficult for him or her to get emotionally involved.

The sixth and last illusion is divided in two parts. First, most drama films follow the logic of causality. Events form a logic and comprehensible cause and effect-chain. The second part of the illusion is connected to the first: it’s editing or montage. This concerns the transitions between shots. During the history of filmmaking, there have developed certain rules that help to create narrative continuity. That is crucial for the understanding of events by spectators. An example of one of the most important rules is the 180˚-system or Axis of action. This axis determines where the camera can be placed to present the action and how the editing has to be done.

In relation to Frijda, the diegetic effect brings the situational meaning structures of the viewer and of the character closer together. It forces the impression on to the viewer that the events are truly taking place in a real world (not an invented, constructed one), right before his or her eyes, in his of her direct environment. In my opinion that’s why the diegetic effect is crucial for the evocation of emotional involvement.

The circumstances of the viewing situation can stimulate or oppose the realization of the diegetic effect. The theatre contributes to it among others through the comfortable chairs and the big screen. There are social conventions that contribute to it: for instance the rule not to commentate loudly on the events in the film. And there are social circumstances that have their influence on the diegetic effect. Watching a movie with some friends is different from watching it with your date. Further, the viewer him of herself can stimulate or oppose the diegetic effect. By being active and willing to participate, the spectator contributes. By for instance saying that it’s ‘just a movie’, he or she opposes the effect.

Before ending this discussion of the diegetic effect, two important remarks. First, in most drama films there are moments when the image and/or sound are subjective, that means the shot or sound is from the direct perspective of a character. My assumption is that these moments do not oppose the creation of the diegetic effect, but that their number should be restricted. The film Lady in the Lake by Robert Montgomery (1954) is a famous example. This film was shot completely from the perspective of a character. It fails to evoke emotional involvement, because it draws attention to the technique of the continuous pov-shot and therefore to the film as artefact. Second remark: So far I have mostly talked about the contribution of images to the diegetic effect, but I must stress that sound is equally important in the realization of it. So, with advanced sound systems the theatre has much influence on the experience of the viewer.

In short, the diegetic effect is an important mechanism for the evocation of emotional involvement, because it’s a series of illusions that is difficult to escape. It gives the spectator the impression to be present at the time and place where the events are happening.

 

 

Empathy and suspense.

 

The third and last step towards emotional involvement is empathy. I assume that this term is quite well-known, that’s why I limit the discussion to a short description of the phenomenon and its function in generating emotional involvement.

Empathy is described by Zillmann (1991) –and I support this description- as a reaction to

a) information presumed to cause an emotion in another individual

b) the expression of an emotion by another individual. (e.g. the very often used close-up of the face of a character is meant to evoke empathy).

c) the behavior of another individual that implicates an emotional experience.

 

This reaction of the viewer is accompanied by an increase in excitement.(as mentioned in the introduction, emotional involvement consists of psychological and bodily effects in the viewer). By subjects the experience of empathy is described as feeling with of feeling for another person. Further I should stress that empathy is not an emotion itself. It includes a variety of emotions, for instance sadness, joy, anger.

In addition to this empathy theory, Zillmann also invented a framework to establish what factor

determines with which character the viewer empathizes. That seems to be the approval or disapproval of a viewer with the actions of a character (the theory is called the moral judgment theory, see Zillmann, 1991). That establishes a certain affective disposition towards a character. If the spectator approves with the action of a character, he or she considers the character to be a friend. By that he hopes for good outcomes of the events in the story and fears bad outcomes. If he doesn’t agree with the actions, he considers the character as an enemy. Then he fears good outcomes and hopes for bad outcomes.

In relation to Frijda: the approval or disapproval with the action of a character depends on the concerns a viewer has. So when character and viewer share concerns, the viewer sees the character as a friend and empathy can be evoked. Shared concerns imply that the situational meaning structures of character and of spectator come to overlap to a certain extent. That extent determines the intensity of emotional involvement.

Special attention was given to the phenomenon of suspense, because it plays an important role in thriller and drama films and has much influence on the psychological and bodily experience of emotional involvement. Zillmann’s theory (1980), which states that suspense is evoked when the well being of a character with whome the spectator is emotionally involved is in danger, is confirmed by several empirical researches. But the analysis of Seven made clear that it’s also possible to experience tension when the characters are not in direct danger. An explanation lacks, but it is clear that the film makers have more influence on suspense than is assumed in the theory.

 

 

Empirical and analytical research.

 

After the formation of a theory on emotional involvement with thriller and drama films, the second chapter was decicated to a literature study on empirical research through which an indication could be given of the empirical value of the theory. I found that interest (the first step towards emotional involvement) lacks empirical research, though attention (the consequence of interests; the actual dedication of the cognitive and perceptual resources of the spectator to the film) is examined in several researches. And these suggest that the theses that form the basis of the theory are adequate, but further research should confirm this. Empirical research on the illusions of the diegetic effect contains that the effect has a reasonable empirical value, but that more research is required to ascertain its value in film studies. There has been extended research on empathy, mostly outside the domain of film studies. The literature on this third step towards emotional involvement justifies the preference for this concept in comparison to its ‘rival’, identification and confirms the important moral judgment theory, though it states that the looks of characters also play a substantial role in the judgment of characters by spectators. Further, the influence of technical and social circumstances concerning the screening of a film on emotional involvement was confirmed by empirical research.

 

In the third chapter the central theory was evaluated in a second manner: through an analysis of two fiction films, namely Seven (Fincher, 1995) for the genre thriller and The Elephant Man (Lynch, 1980) for the genre drama. This analysis was focused again on the three central mechanisms and it turned out that the theory was accurate but needs nuancing. That is, the affective dispositions that play a crucial role in empathy and the moral judgment theory can be more diverse than only ‘good’and ‘bad’ (friend or foe), because the disposition of a viewer towards a character can be mixed and ambigous.

The limitations of this masterthesis are first of all that it was focused on two genres (thriller and drama) and on one type of film (fiction film). An full explanation of emotional involvement in relation to for instance animation films and documentaries is lacking. The theory appeared to be adequate but needs nuancing and more research that can establish the empirical value of the theory is needed.

 

 

Final conclusions:

 

I end this summary of my thesis on emotional involvement with thriller and drama films, with some short conclusions. The basis of emotional involvement with the characters of a thriller or drama film is formed by the sharing of concerns by viewer and character. From there on they will interpret situations in more or less the same way. The process of generating emotional involvement is very complex and starts with inviting the spectator to direct his or her full attention to the film and to get involved. Interest has to be evoked. Then the film can establish the diegetic effect, whereby the viewer feels present at the time and place the events are happening. This stimulates the similarity between the interpretations (situational meaning structures) of spectator and character. Through empathy, the last mechanism, this resemblance can be extended and a profound emotional involvement can be established. The three central mechanisms are separate, yet connected. They have their own workings but seem dependent. The viewer plays a crucial role in the realization of emotional involvement, while the circumstances of the screening also have their influence. In my opinion the evocation of emotional involvement in the viewer is one of the greatest achievements of fiction films because it provides a moving experience that is even seldom in daily life.

 

home lijst scripties inhoud volgende

samenvatting  /  summary in English