In Helsinki, some of you have asked about our recently published book, upon which the presentation Steven and I gave was based (Impossible Puzzle Films: ambiguous framings and framing ambiguities in David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive).
Hereby the press release of Edinburgh UP:
Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema
by Miklós Kiss and Steven Willemsen (EUP 2017)
Using a cognitive film studies framework, this book explores how our minds engage with complex storytelling.
Narrative complexity is a trend in contemporary cinema. Since the late 1990s there has been a palpable increase in complex storytelling in movies. But how and why do complex movies create perplexity and confusion? How do we engage with these challenges? And what makes complex stories so attractive? By blending film studies, narrative theory and cognitive sciences, Kiss and Willemsen look into the relation between complex storytelling and the mind. Analysing the effects that different complex narratives have on viewers, the book addresses how films like Donnie Darko, Mulholland Drive or Primer strategically create complexity and confusion, and, by using the specific category of the ‘impossible puzzle film’, it examines movies that use baffling paradoxes, impossible loops, and unresolved ambiguities in their stories and storytelling. By looking at how these films play on our mind’s blind spots, this innovative book explains their viewing effects in terms of the mental state of cognitive dissonance that they evoke.
- Analyses the effects of complex narratives on viewers, including the psychological experience of puzzlement and perplexity
- Explores impossible puzzle films as a specific set of highly complex popular films
- Introduces cognitive dissonance as a key feature of these films
- Brings together literary theory, cognitive narratology and film studies
JSTOR provides full access to the book: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3366/j.ctt1g05109
(also on behalf of Steven) Miklós