Stanley Kubrick and the Art of Embodied Meaning-Making in Film
AbstractThis article aims to examine some aspects of the cinematic work of Stanley Kubrick from the embodied and interdisciplinary point-of-view of Conceptual Metaphor Theory. Central to this theory is the idea that abstract concepts such as emotions, relationships and mental functions are metaphorically understood in terms of concrete concepts of human bodily experiences such as movement and spatial boundedness. Given that Kubrick’s work is characterised as highly conceptual, it is therefore plausible to assume that the meaning entailments of his films arise from the same mappings of embodied source domains. This paper sets out to illustrate this hypothesis by offering a dense analysis of various concise scenes taken from his oeuvre. It is precisely through Kubrick’s mastery of the devices of filmmaking (e.g. framing, camera movement, editing, etc.) that, as this paper demonstrates, his films exhibit a formal precision rooted in the human sensory-motor system, which enables them to reach a level of conceptual sophistication.
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