"The Detailed Study of Films: Adjusting Attention" - Special Issue of Arts

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2025
full name / name of organization: 
Sérgio Dias Branco
contact email: 

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue of Arts focuses on the detailed study of film style and form. It welcomes articles that consider and integrate the critical role of conscious attention in the practice of film analysis and interpretation. Additionally, it expands on the film criticism work of John Gibbs, Andrew Klevan, Douglas Pye, and others. The detailed study of film works is not a study of details but seeks and follows a movement of abstraction to understand these works in the social and cultural web in which they are historically inserted as objects of production and reflection. In Style and Meaning: Studies in the Detailed Analysis of Film (Manchester University Press, 2005), Pye and Gibbs follow Terry Eagleton in recognizing that artistic media, their forms and senses—perceptions, emotions, and meanings—are inherently social systems (p. 8). Therefore, studying the art of film in detail requires attention that is conscious about this social context and adjusts to it. Adjusting attention is doing justice to the work under scrutiny. It is, simultaneously, a disposition and a concern—an attentive state of mind able to notice significant details and care to be rigorous in studying films.

Given this, I propose a broad distinction between two types of attention that organizes and systematize the study of films, as follows:

  • Intensive attention describes a methodology that concentrates on the analytical and interpretative study of a single film;
  • Extensive attention designates a methodology that differs from the previous because it aims to analyze and interpret a set of films, grouped by filmmaker, genre, country, theme, or other specific categories.

These methodologies are active research processes that highlight concrete elements and relationships and evoke multiple aspects that influence these relationships. Of course, in the course of interpretative analysis, it may be necessary to extend intensive attention (e.g., briefly consider other films) or to intensify extensive attention (e.g., briefly concentrating on a single film) in order to develop an argument. There is no opposition between the two types of attention but a difference in the approach to attention—in which both assume the importance of concentrating on films, as well as the significance of placing them in precise contexts. Generally, contributions to this Special Issue should choose between one or the other for methodological clarity. In each case, the purpose is to find patterns and account for them within the complexity of films, single or grouped.

More information and submisisons here: https://www.mdpi.com/journal/arts/special_issues/DL2U02O3U1