First we examine the standard narratives and stereotypical scenes, considering a specific poetics of affect in the war-film genre. Following the results of this preliminary study, the main heuristic assumptions about a poetics of affect in Hollywood war films can be determined as follows:
The genre of classic war films can be described through a certain number of stereotypical narrative patterns and character constellations (standard scenes).
These standard scenes are strongly connected to the aesthetic strategies of mobilizing emotions.
The standard scenes can be assigned to distinguishable realms of affect, for example mourning, fear and rage.
Therefore, these standard scenes can be defined as pathos scenes.
Following a first phase of analyzing film examples, we go on to define our hypothetical assumptions more precisely.
The distinct realms of affect are determined through — plot constellation — cinematic forms of expression
On the one hand the distinct realms of affect are determined through the plot constellation (for example fighting scene, mourning scene or heroic act). On the other hand these scenes are characterized by specific compositions of cinematic forms of expression that result in a particular mood (like gesture, color and lighting, spatial and acoustic patterns, montage).
The temporal arrangement of pathos scenes within the film is the basic structure of the process of mobilizing emotions.
The temporal arrangement of pathos scenes within the film – their order in time – is the basic structure of the process of mobilizing emotions. We can understand this as the macro level of the poetics of affect in the war film genre.
The audiovisual composition activates the specific realm of affect.
The temporal structure of the audiovisual composition in a particular scene activates the specific realm of affect as a mood.
The single scene is structured as an arrangement of temporal segments.
The audiovisual composition of a single scene is structured as an arrangement of temporal segments. These temporal segments unfold in a distinctive pattern (initiation, progression, closure). We define them as expressive movement units.