Melancholy Emotion in Contemporary Cinema: A Spinozian Analysis of Film Experience

Melancholy Emotion in Contemporary Cinema: A Spinozian Analysis of Film Experience

This work outlines a new methodology for film analysis based on the radical materialist thought of Baruch Spinoza, re-evaluating contemporary cognitive media theory and philosophical theories on the emotional and intellectual aspects of film experience.


Sticchi's exploration of Spinozian philosophy creates an experiential constructive model to blend the affective and intellectual aspects of cognition, and to combine it with different philosophical interpretations of film theory. Spinoza's embodied philosophy rejected logical and ethical dualisms, and established a perfect parallelism between sensation and reason and provides the opportunity to address negative emotions and sad passions without referring exclusively to traditional notions such as catharsis or sublimation, and to put forth a practical/embodied notion of Film-Philosophy. This new analytical approach is tested on four case studies, films that challenge the viewer's emotional engagement since they display situations of cosmic failure and depict controversial and damaged characters: A Serious Man (2009); Melancholia (2011); The Act of Killing (2012) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).


This book is an important addition to the literature in Film Studies, particularly in Cognitive Film Theory and Philosophy of Film. Its affective and semantic analyses of film experience (studies of embodied conceptualisation), connecting Spinoza's thought to the analysis of audiovisual media, will also be of interest to Philosophy scholars and in academic courses of film theory, film-philosophy and cognitive film studies.
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