Skip to main content

Self-Reflection: Beyond Conventional Fiction Film Engagement

Vaage, Margrethe Bruun (2009) Self-Reflection: Beyond Conventional Fiction Film Engagement. Nordicom Review, 30 (2). pp. 159-178. ISSN 1403-1108.


Idiosyncratic responses are more strictly personal responses to fiction film that vary across individual spectators. In philosophy of film, idiosyncratic responses are often deemed inappropriate, unwarranted and unintended by the film. One type of idiosyncratic response is when empathy with a character triggers the spectator to reflect on his own real-life issues. Self-reflection can be triggered by egoistic drift, where the spectator starts imagining himself in the character’s shoes, by re-experiencing memories, or by unfamiliar experiences that draw the spectator’s attention. Film may facilitate self-reflection by slowing down narrative development and making the narrative indeterminate. Such scenes do make idiosyncratic responses, such as self-reflection, appropriate and intended. Fiction film is a safe context for the spectator to reflect on personal issues, as it also affords him with distancing techniques if the reflection becomes too painful or unwanted. The fictional context further encourages self-reflection in response to empathy, as the spectator is relieved from real-life moral obligations to help the other.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled keywords: spectator engagement fiction film idiosyncratic responses empathy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN1993 Motion Pictures
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of Arts > Film
Depositing User: Margrethe Bruun Vaage
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2016 11:28 UTC
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2019 14:49 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Vaage, Margrethe Bruun:
  • Depositors only (login required):


Downloads per month over past year