PERFORMING ARTS

Shocked but Connected: Notes on Laughter

. September 2012. 244p. 978-1-44221-756-0. 35.
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Well known for his pivotal independent film Nothing but a Man, first released over four decades ago, filmmaker and scholar Roemer (filmmaking & aesthetics, emeritus, Yale Univ.; Telling Stories: Postmodernism and the Invalidation of Traditional Narrative) tackles a complicated topic: why film comedy is funny. Though his choice of subject is quite ambitious, Roemer offers sharp analysis and makes solid arguments. He poses many questions: Is comedy in film an art or a science? Is effective humor well planned or just well executed? Or does it take both of these elements for humor to be truly successful? He presents strong evidence as to how, precisely, film comedians manage to make their audiences laugh, and supplies several robust theories for academically inclined readers to wrap their minds around.
VERDICT Roemer invites readers to think critically about comedy in films. This text will impress the serious student of film comedy and will be a welcome addition to film studies literature. Recommended.

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