Non-Story, Nostalgia, and Film Cognition: Nostalgia-Based Narrative Rhetoric Composition

Non-Story, Nostalgia, and Film Cognition: Nostalgia-Based Narrative Rhetoric Composition

Akihito Kanai (Hosei University, Japan)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0432-0.ch015
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Abstract

In addition to the stories' or characters' goal-directed actions, the non-story narrative and nostalgia aspects are important issues for narrative cognitions such as film cognition. In this chapter, the film cognitive effects related to re-defining nostalgia through cutting techniques and defamiliarization of narrative rhetoric are particularly analyzed. Using a cognitive and computational model, the rhetoric of the film is classified into four kinds of nostalgia including non-nostalgia, and analyzed in particular from the cognitive process perspective as it related to non-story and nostalgia. Next, a computerized classification is used to compose rhetoric and generate films for various kinds of nostalgia. The generated films revealed both the narrow story and broad non-story aspects of the rhetoric, narrative, and cognition of the past and the film.
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Introduction

Narrative cognition is accomplished through the simultaneous processing of many factors. Generally, a story and its cognition are important factors to narrative cognition. Consequently, research on story grammar has been the primary computational and cognitive approach to narratives (e.g., Rumelhart, 1975; Thorndyke, 1977). Although these previous approaches primarily focused on the characters’ goal-directed actions, recent focus has turned to the visual narrative structure (e.g., Cohn, 2013, 2014). In addition to the stories’ or characters’ goal-directed actions, the non-story narrative and nostalgia aspects are important issues for narrative cognitions such as film cognition. Generally, a film consists of several past images, which are viewed during certain period of time after being filmed. Therefore, even one past image in a film without a specific story, words, or an event, also known as a non-story narrative, can evoke various forms of nostalgia based on the viewer’s cognition. Non-story visual narrative and nostalgia effects should be the focus of research on narrative film cognition.

Nostalgia does not always follow comfortable cognition. Some nostalgia is evoked from a lost good past. Other nostalgia is evoked from an unforgettable bad past. Both types of nostalgia must be considered. Furthermore, nostalgia may emerge suddenly with a non-story. For these reasons, to compose various kinds of narrative film rhetoric, both kinds of nostalgia found in non-story narratives must be examined. In this chapter, the focus is on the computational and cognitive approach to non-story visual narrative and nostalgia in order to discuss and explore the entire narrative concept.

Theories on narratives in literature make a strong distinction between story (fabula) and discourse (syuzhet) (Genette, 1980). In the study of film cognition and creation, an equivalent distinction is made between the story and film itself. A story can be defined in a narrative as all implicit or explicit events. Nevertheless, a film not only has a story structure, but also visual and audio structures. In this chapter, the focus is on the film structure, in particular from the perspective of “the rhetoric of the film.” Kanai (2001b, 2002) defined the rhetoric of the film, based on Chatman (1990), as a combination of the film techniques based on the sender's purpose. Some rhetoric enables a viewer to watch a film and to relate to its story. The process of the viewer coming to understand the past story may lead to some nostalgia effects. Conversely, many films have a primary purpose other than to tell a story. This happens when the purpose of the director is the film rhetoric itself, or the non-story rhetorical aspects rather than the story. In addition, nostalgia effects can emerge from emphasized details of the past, which are the non-story and cutting aspects of the film. When the above issues are considered, a system for computational narrative film generation must include story and non-story rhetorical aspects.

Computational film creation can be argued as the choice of rhetoric type used as a strategy in order for the viewers’ cognitive processes to relate to various kinds of nostalgia. In this chapter, using a cognitive and computational model, the rhetoric of the film was classified into four kinds of nostalgia including non-nostalgia. The rhetoric of the film was analyzed in particular from the cognitive process perspective as it related to non-story and nostalgia. Next, a computerized classification is used to compose rhetoric and generate films for various kinds of nostalgia. The generated films revealed both the narrow story and broad non-story aspects of the rhetoric, narrative, and cognition of the past and the film. Without using story structures and goal-oriented characters, nostalgia-based visual narrative rhetoric could be composed.

Many cognitive effects from narrative films are created through the interaction between cognitive process, story, discourse, and rhetoric. For example, irrational rhetoric cutting techniques for narrative space and time in the film can change the viewer's cognitive transition from story-driven to rhetoric-driven processing. Based on cognitive transition due to narrative processing from story-based to non-story based, cognitive effects such as intensive nostalgia effects can emerge.

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