Impossible Puzzle Films: A Cognitive Approach to Contemporary Complex Cinema

    Research output: Book/ReportBookAcademicpeer-review


    Narrative complexity is a trend in contemporary cinema. Since the late 1990s there has been a palpable increase in complex storytelling in movies. But how and why do complex movies create perplexity and confusion? How do we engage with these challenges? And what makes complex stories so attractive?

    By blending film studies and cognitive sciences, this project looks into the relation between complex storytelling and the mind. Analysing the effects that different complex stories have on viewers, the research addresses how films strategically create complexity and confusion. It introduces the specific category of impossible puzzle films to examine movies that use baffling paradoxes, impossible loops, and unresolved ambiguities in their stories and storytelling. By looking at how these films play on our mind’s blind spots, this project explains their viewing effects in terms of the mental state of cognitive dissonance that they evoke.
    Original languageEnglish
    Place of PublicationEdinburgh
    PublisherEdinburgh University Press
    Number of pages240
    ISBN (Print)9781474406727
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Cite this