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Cinematic Persuasion.

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Presentation on theme: "Cinematic Persuasion."— Presentation transcript:

1 Cinematic Persuasion

2 “Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings
“Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, heart, nudity, sex, happy endings. Mainly happy endings.” Griffin Mill (in Robert Altman’s The Player, on what a movie needs to make money).

3 Cinema’s Power to Persuade
Movies are a form of entertainment They are also a business (show business) they are also a form of persuasion Movies reach large numbers of people potential for mass influence Movies are told in a narrative form stories possess an aura of believability

4 Cinematic influence People may not expect to be persuaded during a movie “willing suspension of disbelief” Film may persuade intentionally. Michael Moore’s films Inconvenient Truth Brokeback Mountain Film may persuade unintentionally. Juno Superbad

5 Movies and social modeling
Movie characters model risky behaviors. Smoking Smoking rates in cinema are disproportionately higher than for the public at large (Omidvari, et al., 2005). Alcohol abuse Movies frequently depict underage drinking and driving. Unsafe sex 98% of movies with sex scenes make no mention of safe sex (Gunasekera & Chapman, 2005). Violence Gratuituous violence is commonplace on the Big Screen.

6 Social modeling: thank you for smoking
Smoking rates in cinema are disproportionately higher than for the public at large (Omidvari, et al 2005). Over the past six years more than half of the movies geared toward children feature characters smoking. In more than a quarter of the movies, actors light up cigars (AMA, 2008). Teenagers are significantly more likely to start smoking if they watch movies featuring stars who smoke cigarettes (Dalton, 2003) 89% of smoking is initiated during adolescence (Johnston, O’Malley, & Bachman, 1996) .html

7 Movies and risky behavior
More negative social modeling Unsafe sex: 98% of movies with sex scenes make no mention of safe sex (Gunasekera & Chapman, 2005):. Drug and alcohol use: Movies with cannabis (8%) and other non-injected illicit drugs (7%) were less common than those with alcohol intoxication (32%) and tobacco use (68%) Buckling up: seat belt usage in movies is quite low, typically between 10-30% (Jacobsen, Kreuter, Luke, & Caburnay The national average is closer to 70%.

8 Positive social modeling occurs too
Finding Nemo normalizes disabilities Nemo has an underdeveloped “lucky” fin Nemo’s father suffers from post traumatic stress syndrome Dory has short-term memory loss Bruce the shark is in a 12 step program A squid has incontinence (cannot retain its ink)

9 More positive modeling
Blindside demonstrated interracial compassion, caring Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner tackled the subject of racial integration. Milk chronicled a leader of the gay rights movement. Tomb Raider, the Terminator films, Resident Evil, and other films portray smart, tough, empowered female protagonists.

10 Cinema and social change
Films often advance cultural awareness and social change Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner Easy Rider Thelma & Louise Brokeback Mountain

11 Influential Movies It Happened One Night (1934)
The Seven Year Itch (1955) Easy Rider (1965) Saturday Night Fever (1977) Annie Hall (1977) American Gigolo (1980) Flashdance (1983) Boyz in the Hood (1991) Pulp Fiction (1994)

12 How movies persuade: stealth advertising
Product placement- the practice of inserting brand name items into the movie scenes is commonplace (lists placements in movies) Types of placement Visual Spoken Usage Apple has placed products in more than 1,500 TV shows. Apple is just as popular on the big screen, showing up in hits from "You've Got Mail" to "How to Lose a Guy in 10 days."" Films are carefully crafted, detailed works of art

13 How movies persuade: Promoting viewer identification
Stories in films overlaps with viewers’ own experience, so they can relate to the message in the movie viewers identify closely with characters who face a crisis or adversity example: Movies like Rudy and Seabiscuit champion the little guy.

14 Viewer identification
Rocky, Rudy, Slumdog Millionaire championed the underdog. Napolean Dynamite, Pretty in Pink, Superbad, championed social outcasts.

15 How movies persuade: exporting American culture and values
American movies export Western cultures and values around the globe Movies are one of America’s three leading exports Negative side- foreign audiences are not too thrilled with the emphasis on materialism, sex, and violence in the movies. Positive side- movies can embrace values such as freedom, equality, and human rights

16 Exporting American culture and values
Fashions, hairstyles, lifestyles are often imitated Leg warmers Platform shoes Stirrup pants Daisy Duke shorts Movies are vehicles for advertising

17 Exporting Cultural Values
Western movies promote positive values. democracy equality freedom justice Western movies promote negative values. materialism promiscuity violence

18 Movies and violence Movies often serve as guides for social behavior
viewers often act out, model, imitate what they see on screen Research on violence in video games, television, movies, and the Internet found that those exposed to movie violence demonstrated more pro- violence attitudes (Funk, Baldacci, Pasold, & Baumgardner, 2004). 26 per cent of adults still have "residual anxiety" many years after viewing horror movies in childhood.

19 Movies and violence Hollywood routinely recruits teenagers and children (some as young as nine) to evaluate its story concepts, commercials, theatrical trailers and rough cuts—even for R- rated movies. The FTC studied 44 restricted films meant for adults, and discovered that 80 per cent were targeted to children under 17.

20 Cultural and Gender Stereotypes
Hollywood frequently typecasts minorities, cultural groups, and women, overweight people, the elderly, and other groups into limited roles Legally Blonde perpetuates the “dumb blonde” stereotype Shallow Hal gives people permission to make fun of fat people Jackie Chan fills the image of the martial artist who is sexually/romantically awkward Arab American community refers to the “Three Bs” syndrome. Arabs in movies and on TV are: bombers belly dancers billionaires.

21 Sexism in cinema? Heavy male actors Heavy female actresses Tom Arnold
Jack Black Jason Alexander Tom Arnold James Gandolfini Ricky Gervais John Goodman Jonah Hill Phillip Seymour Hoffman Kevin James Seth Rogan (now slimmer) Steve Schirripa George Wendt Heavy female actresses Kathy Bates Nikki Blonsky Judi Dench Kathy Kinney Queen Latifah Mo’nique Gabourey Sidibe Granted, there may be others, but chubby sidekicks don’t count. The double standard is for leading roles.

22 Hollywood blazes a path
Oscar winning actor,Morgan Freeman, brings a sense of authority, dignity, and gravitas to the roles he plays. He played the role of president of the United States in the movie Deep Impact (1998) and the role of god in God Almighty (2003). Is it possible he made the idea of an African American president more “thinkable”? Dennis Haysbert and D.B. Woodside also played the Commander in Chief in the Fox TV series 24. Can Obama’s election be seen as a case of “life imitates art”?

23 Cultivation Theory Cultivation Theory predicts that heavy exposure to movies and TV may cultivate attitudes more consistent with the media version of reality than with reality itself. “Heavy” viewers have a more distorted view of the world than “Light” viewers Heavy viewers develop a view of a “mean, scary world” Movies and TV provide biased, stereotyped depictions of reality, which can distort the beliefs of heavy viewers

24 Based on a true story? Plotlines and details may be “loosely based,” or may be based on false assertions Amityville Horror: “The truth …was finally revealed when Butch DeFeo's lawyer, William Weber, admitted that he, along with the Lutzes, created this horror story over many bottles of wine.” ( Texas Chain Saw Massacre: “there was no real family of cannibalistic chainsaw murderers slaughtering people in Texas, nor any actual series of chainsaw-related killings.” (

25 Documentaries Bowling for Columbine: documentary or “mock-umentary”?
Supersize Me: documentary or “shock-umentary”? Beware of docu-dramas Time compression Composite characters Re-shot footage (example, reaction shots filmed at a different time)

26 Resistance to Cinematic Persuasion
Do not let your guard down Realize “it’s only a movie” not real life Be aware of product placements Assume the director will opt for a good narrative over accuracy Be informative and seek knowledge

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