Existential Feelings: How Cinema Makes Us Feel Alive



Cinematic emotional laboratories, Existential feelings, Manipulation of time, Paradox of suspense, Surprise


This paper explores the role of existential feelings in films, and the impact of the connections between cinema and existential feelings for emotional life in general. After explaining the notion of existential feelings and illustrating them in films with Black Swan (2010) and The Help (2011), the paper concludes that movies offer provide insights about our own existential feelings because films promote emotional awareness by the way they function as emotional laboratories. This will lead to an examination the presence and role of surprise for emotional awareness in general, and more specifically by seeing how it works within suspense movies with the illustration of Rebecca (1940). The analysis will show how the paradox of suspense is tied to the way we can be surprised by our own feelings, including our own existential feelings. The paper concludes that the cinema is capable of providing this privileged place for exploration because it maintains our ability to feel surprise and keep open to surprise.




How to Cite

Mendonça, D. (2012). Existential Feelings: How Cinema Makes Us Feel Alive. Cinema: Journal of Philosophy and the Moving Image, (3), 211–228. Retrieved from https://cinema.fcsh.unl.pt/index.php/revista/article/view/181