Review of Moving Pictures: A New Theory of Film Genres, Feelings and Cognition (1997)

Torben Grodal (writer).

A bridge between film studies and an empirical psychology based on neuroscience, extending to a prototype genre theory.

Dense and less influential than it should have been, Grodal’s book amazed me. I read it as a postgraduate student, not as part of the curriculum but out of pure intellectual curiosity. It’s massively ambitious, actually making the leap across disciplines to base high-order, inherently iffy studies of aesthetics on concrete science. Grodal does it with the right provisos and humility, without falling into vagueness or facile reduction. To me, this book has come to represent the ideals of the Enlightenment at their finest: Actually using science to understand one’s own mind, operating at leisure in human culture, as the working brain.

References here: “No Objects” (2019).

non-fiction text