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How cinema surrounds us: the psychology of psychogeography in the works of Sofia Coppola

By Laura Clare Mereki Henderson


© 2017 Dr. Laura Clare Mereki HendersonThe settings and spaces presented to the spectator by a film can be some of the most memorable and pleasurable elements of cinema. While the affective turn in screen theory has moved towards a consideration of an embodied spectator, there is still little consideration of how the spectator experiences filmic space. Moreover, although there is significant evidence that many elements of this interaction occur at a neurological level, few scholars have taken this into consideration. This dissertation aims to address these gaps by engaging contemporary film theory with recent areas of psychological research. By juxtaposing these two bodies of knowledge in an analogic flow, new ways of understanding how the spectator interacts with a cinematic world emerge. Taking the work of Sofia Coppola as a case study, the thesis builds on Giuliana Bruno’s account of the psychogeography of cinema, and demonstrates that the perception of filmic landscapes is a neurally embodied, intimate and intersubjective practice. The major findings presented concern the ways the perception of cinematic psychogeographies mirror, incite and operate upon the neural underpinnings of consciousness. The research also interrogates how a spectator constructs personal relationships with film spaces, how these spaces change our perception of the material world, and how this might impact on the study of film spectatorship. The personal construction of film spaces indicates a direct and neurally intimate relationship between text and spectator. This thesis tenders a possible (and currently unexplored) avenue for the study of spectatorship that reflects this relationship

Topics: Sofia Coppola, film theory, psychogeography
Year: 2017
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