Text topic: Film and Philosophy
Text author: Саша Милић
In this paper we deal with the problem of how viewers interpret feature films. In elaborating the nature of human knowledge of the outside world, we used the P. F. Strawson’s ideas about the primary logical position of material bodies and persons. Our starting position is that in understanding film fiction, viewers build a diegetic world, whose perception carries strong correlation with how the humans perceive reality. This gave us an opportunity to understand the relationship between situation models that are used to categorize the multiplicity of objects on the film screen, or the basic particulars as Strawson named them. Our goal here is to account for sudden shifts in film narration, which often force viewers to radically reorganize their spatial-temporal grid, and the objects it comprises. We want to explain how the change of position and function of one object, or a series of spatially or causally connected objects are sufficient to cause a momentary wholesome change of the situation model, and consequently the perspective through which spectators organize the conceptual field related to the film narration they are facing. Recognizing sight gags as particularly complex narrative figure, the paper describes the doubling of situation models by viewers interpreting specific sight gags. A result of this doubling is the incongruity registered by the viewer, who thus gains an analytical insight into the structure and functioning of individual situation models. To achieve this we analyzed several segments of films made by Buster Keaton in the 1920s.