In this article we investigate the astonishing variety of emotions that a brief scene in a film melodrama can evoke. We thus take issue with the reductive view of melodrama that limits this genre’s emotional effects to sadness, pity, and tear-jerking potential. Through a close analysis of a melodramatic standard situation—a “news of death” scene—in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s "21 Grams" (2003), we reveal the emotional dynamics and the high density as well as rich variety of affective phenomena likely to be experienced during the trajectory of this two-minute scene.
- close reading
- film reception