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date: 26 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Given the power and ubiquity of the human face in social life, it is unsurprising that the represented face in close-up plays a central role in narrative film. This chapter begins by characterizing and defending a cognitive cultural approach to the represented face in film. It goes on to survey research on how representations of the face function in film narratives, beginning with early film theorists Hugo Munsterberg and Béla Balázs and extending through more recent research on close-ups, empathy, emotional contagion, and point-of-view editing. All this leads to an analysis of the represented face in The Silence of the Lambs, concentrating on how faces are used to portray opposition and to elicit various spectator effects. The chapter demonstrates that a cognitive cultural approach to film enables better understanding of the film medium generally, but also of a particular film in its cultural and historical context.

Keywords: narrative film, close-up, Hugo Munsterberg, Béla Balázs, The Silence of the Lambs, cognitive cultural approach, point-of-view editing, represented face

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