Hierarchical Structure in Schematic Representations: Aspects of Meaning in the Cinematic Shot

Idan Landau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The observation that the cinematic medium employs distinctive meaning-construction devices combined with the conviction that interpretation presupposes some preliminary cognitive processing, motivate attempts to explicate the former in terms of the latter. Focusing on one device - the cinematic shot - this paper examines such an attempt against some test cases from the movies of Alfred Hitchcock. The account proceeds in two stages: First, a hierarchical model of cinematic representation is developed, applying the 'basic level' analysis of categorial organization, proposed by Rosch et al. (1976), to the 'script' model of stereotyped schematic representations, proposed by Schank and Abelson (1977). Second, a scrutiny of 'discourse-violations' of the basic level in the cinematic exemplars is given a pragmatic account, shedding light on how these devices trigger meaning-construction in real-time viewing. A conclusion ensues, surveying some of the implications and consequences this study carries to both film criticism and cognitive theory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)737-766
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Pragmatics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Dec 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Artificial Intelligence


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