Federico Vitella

Between Historical and Aesthetic-Cognitive Approach (in Film Analysis): Pietro Germi’s «Il ferroviere» (1956)

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Cognitive Film Theory, Film Analysis, Italian Cinema, Philosophy of Film.

The present paper intends to work on the Italian film Il ferroviere (Pietro Germi, 1956) as a male weepy: a family melodrama centered on the paternal figure (male), aimed at arousing emotion (weepy) among a non-exclusively female audience. In order to account for the spectator’s involvement, I propose an aesthetic-cognitive approach, deriving from the studies of Murray Smith, Noël Carrol and Carl Plantinga on the cinematic emotions. In fact, although film studies, in recent years, have been confronted more and more directly with neuroscience, marrying more embodied theoretical perspectives, the analytical tools conceived in the framework of the classical cognitivism maintain a good operativeness/effectiveness. This reading starts from the attempt to reconcile the historical approach and the aesthetic-cognitive approach, in the conviction that the double perspective of investigation might be reciprocally productive: if, on the one hand, the traces of the historical reception of the film can direct the aesthetic-cognitive analysis, on the other hand, the aesthetic-cognitive analysis can illuminate the pragmatic functioning of the text in history.

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