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The Audience Effect

On the Collective Cinema Experience

Julian Hanich

Paperback (Forthcoming)
eBook (ePub) i
eBook (PDF) i

Explores the experiences spectators have when they watch a film collectively in a cinema

Is the experience of watching a film with others in a cinema crucially different from watching a film alone? Does laughing together amplify our enjoyment, and when watching a film in communal rapt attention, does this intensify the whole experience?

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List of Illustrations

Establishing Shot: Definition and History
1. Introduction: What Is the Audience Effect?
2. Excavating the Audience Effect: Precursors in the History of Film Theory

Long Shot: Types of Collective Viewing
Introductory Notes
3. Quiet-Attentive Viewing: Toward a Typology of Collective Spectatorship, Part I
4. Expressive-Diverted Viewing: Toward a Typology of Collective Spectatorship, Part II

Medium Shot: On the Cinema’s Affective Audience Effects
5. I, You and We: Investigating the Cinema’s Affective Audience Interrelations
6. Feeling Close: Conceptualizing the Cinema’s Affective We-Experiences

Close-up: Case Studies of Affective Audience Effects
7. Chuckle, Chortle, Cackle: A Phenomenology of Cinematic Laughter
8. When Viewers Silently Weep: A Phenomenology of Cinematic Tears
9. Distance and Distraction: A Phenomenology of Cinematic Anger

Fade-Out: Conclusion
10. The Audience Effect in the Cinema and Beyond


About the Author

Julian Hanich is Associate Professor of Film Studies at the University of Groningen. In his research he focuses on audience emotions and affects, the film experience, and questions of film style. His first monograph Cinematic Emotion in Horror Films and Thrillers: The Aesthetic Paradox of Pleasurable Fear (2010) was a phenomenological investigation into the question why viewers enjoy being scared. His articles have appeared in Screen, Cinema Journal, Projections and many others.


'Carefully researched...For those looking to learn more about the complex responses of audiences of cinematic art this is the book you should consult.'
- Bob Lane, Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, Vancouver Island University, Metapsychology
'Hanich has written The Audience Effect as an exercise in phenomenology, or, the philosophical analysis of forms of perception and engagement, their workings and implications. Watching films is seen not just as a visual, or even aural, process, but one engaging all aspects of a person, and (just about) all parts of our bodies. [...] There’s little doubt that to those drawn to this approach, Hanich’s book will be a significant addition.'
- Martin Barker, Participations

'This book moves its attention from the images on the screen to the audience gathered in the film theatre and eventually tells ‘their’ stories. Hanich makes a spectacular shift, and he unfolds a reality that film studies has partly forgotten, as well as cinema’s nature as a ‘democratic’ art. A rigorous and fascinating book that will revamp audience studies.'

- Professor Francesco Casetti, Yale
'The Audience Effect is is an immensely important contribution to the phenomenology of cinema. Focused on the much-neglected collectivity of the theatrical film experience, it also touches on other modes of collective viewing, and its rigorous descriptions of the structures, effects, and affects entailed in collective viewing are extraordinarily enlivened by many examples and extremely accessible prose.'
- Professor Vivian Sobchack, UCLA

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