Understanding Cinema, first published in 2003, analyzes the moving imagery of film and television from a psychological perspective. Per Persson argues that spectators perceive, think, apply knowledge, infer, interpret, feel and make use of knowledge, assumptions, expectations and prejudices when viewing and making sense of film. Drawing psychology and anthropology, he explains how close-ups, editing conventions, character psychology and other cinematic techniques work, and how and why they affect the spectator. This study integrates psychological and culturalist approaches to meanings and reception. Anchoring the discussion in concrete examples from early and contemporary cinema, Understanding Cinema also analyzes the design of cinema conventions and their stylistic transformations through the evolution of film.
The essays within this collection explore the possibilities and potentialities of all three positions, presenting encounters that are, at times contradictory, at other times supportive, as well as complementary. The collection thereby enriches the questions that are being raised within contemporary cinematic studies.
The 1990s were in many ways the Balkan decade, as the break-up of Yugoslavia returned the Balkans to the center of Western consciousness. While journalism has been the most important channel of constructing a perception of the war, this perception has also been based on films that deal with the conflict. The body of film productions about the Balkan conflict is a truly international project which engaged a large international community of filmmakers; still, most features come from the countries of former Yugoslavia: Before the Rain (1994); Underground (1995); Pretty Village, Pretty Flame (1996); Perfect Circle (1997); Powder Keg (1998); No Man's Land (2001), to name only a few. It is these films that have created in the West a sustained perception about the Balkans and in the process have constructed a complex perspective on Balkan nationalism. This study explores how Balkan nationalism, already a tainted and ambiguous, took a different shape in the post 1990s Balkan cinema, which critically intervened into both the discourse of Balkanism and internal calls for nationalism. Opening up key questions about nationalism and cinema today, the study is addressed to anyone interested in film and nationalism, national cinemas and their relationship to a global/world cinema."
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