A2 FILM STUDIES – FM3 SECTION B – Popular Cinema & Emotional Response LESSON 3 – Analysis of THE DARK KNIGHT Emotional Responses

to the Dark Knight & Intro to Hall’s Reception Theory Task 1 - Personal responses, variety in responses & the emotional appeal of THE

As a spectator, you are seen to be independent to the audience whom you sit and watch the film in the cinema with, and subsequently will have a personal emotional response to the film – how it made you feel. Personal Response In the box below, write down all the different emotional responses you felt as you watched the film. You will feed these back to the class

Variety in Response Now you have all fed back your ideas to the class, write down the responses in the table below under the relevant headings to help explain what TYPE of personal response each one is: affective, visceral, cognitive. AFFECTIVE VISCERAL COGNITIVE

The appeal of THE DARK KNIGHT to different audiences As your grid above might indicate, different spectators can have different responses to the same film. In pairs, answer the question below and feedback your answer to the class: Q1 - Why might we have different responses to the film?

Q2 - Why might we have the same, unified response to the film?

A2 FILM STUDIES – FM3 SECTION B – Popular Cinema & Emotional Response Stuart Hall – An Introduction to Audience Reception Theory Stuart Hall is a cultural theorist who theorises about what we do with Film rather than what it does to us. He is interested in Active audiences and his Audience Reception Theory looks at how we interact with and make meaning from film texts. Before we can understand the Audience Reception Theory, we have to understand the Encoding / Decoding model. Hall argues that all film texts are ENCODED with an intended meaning when they are made by the producer. When a spectator views the film, he will DECODE the meaning that the text has for him/her. The film is therefore an object or site of ENCODING & DECODING in order for meaning and a response to the film to happen.


Encodes meaning


Decodes meaning


BUT, the meaning that the spectator decodes, might not be the same as that intended by the producer when making the text. The Audience reception theory helps to define the different ways we may decode a film text and helps us understand WHY active audiences might have different responses to the same film. PRODUCER PREFERRED MEANING The Intended meaning the director would like the spectator to take. This is influenced / manipulated through the use of micro elements and macro aspects such as narrative, character and genre to help ensure the spectator agree with the preferred meaning. SPECTATOR PREFERRED READING If a spectator has the same reading as the intended, preferred reading (i.e. they have been successfully manipulated by the micro and macro features) and respond to the film in the way the director wanted, they have had a preferred reading. NEGOTIATED READING If a spectator has allowed themselves to be manipulated by and find pleasure in the micro and macro features to understand what the preferred meaning is but they have additional, alternative readings too, then they have had a negotiated reading. They negotiate the meanings the text has depending on their response to the film and their personal experiences external to the film. OPPOSITIONAL READING If a spectator has a response to the film that is entirely different to the preferred meaning then they have had an oppositional response. This doesn’t necessarily mean that they don’t like the film but that their own personal experiences have attached different meaning to the way they respond to the film.

A2 FILM STUDIES – FM3 SECTION B – Popular Cinema & Emotional Response TASK 2 - Applying Hall’s Reception theory to THE DARK KNIGHT Fill out the grid below, in reference to THE DARK KNIGHT, to indicate a basic understanding of how the reception theory can be applied to the film. Think about your personal response and those of others in the class to help you. DIRECTOR SPECTATOR A preferred reading would be…

A negotiated reading might be…. Christopher Nolan’s preferred meaning in the film THE DARK KNIGHT is…..(i.e. the response he wanted them to have when watching the film) An oppositional reading could be….

Now, answer the question below… Q – Do you take a preferred, negotiated or oppositional reading to the film THE DARK KNIGHT?

Remember, there is no right or wrong answer…it’s all about a personal response to the film based on how you read it!

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