Film Directors and Emotion

An Affective Turn in Contemporary American Cinema

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About the Book

Cinema is an affective medium. Films move us to feel wonder, joy, and love as well as fear, anger, and hatred. Today, we are living through a new age of sensibility when emotion is given priority over reason. Hollywood produces movies that employ cheap manipulative tricks to make audiences cry, feel good, or jump in fright. Yet, there is a counter-cultural current in contemporary American cinema that offers a more nuanced treatment of emotion. Both aesthetically and eidetically, this new cinema of affect allows viewers to make up their own minds about what they feel and think.
This book focuses on key films by important auteur-directors—David Fincer, Bryan Singer, Christopher Nolan, Kathryn Bigelow, Richard Linklater, Barry Jenkins, Greta Gerwig, and Pete Docter—who are to the forefront of this new cinema. Without ever being dogmatic, these directors’ films offer their audiences a glimpse at strategies for relating to, and entering into being with, others in a manner that can be regarded as profoundly ethical. Employing affect theory, Jungian analytical psychology, and Hegelian dialecticism, this book explores how these filmmakers anatomize affect, showing how it functions in the creation or degradation of character and society.

About the Author(s)

Darragh Greene lectures in Medieval Studies at University College Dublin. He has published essays on medieval English literature, Chaucer, Shakespeare, James Joyce, and comics author Grant Morrion.
Graham Price is the director of a University of California (Berkeley) academic study abroad program at the University College Dublin. He has published books and many articles on Irish literature and culture.

Bibliographic Details

Darragh Greene and Graham Price
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2020
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6889-5
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4008-2
Imprint: McFarland

Book Reviews & Awards

“Writing from a position beyond the standard Film Studies arena, Greene and Price have compiled a series of theoretical, formal analyses of some of the most interesting contemporary American (indie and mainstream) filmmakers and their work. Coherently united under the broad theme of cinematic ‘affect,’ this book interweaves a rich array of interdisciplinary strands—from Aristotle to Žižek—into a compelling tapestry of film interpretation that both celebrates, and reminds the reader of, the intertextual nature of the medium and how it is always usefully considered within the context of its rich cultural, textual heritage. Film Directors and Emotion will satisfy cinephiles and inquisitive readers who are looking to be stimulated by alternative ways of exploring the art and thinking that contemporary cinema offers.”— Dr. Barry Monahan, Film Studies, University College Cork, Ireland