Tuesday, October 6

Flickering Images

Fascinating long article-in-progress at GreenCineDaily by the wonderfully named Simon Augustine on portrayals of the edges of sanity in the movies; particularly provocative on the question of how our own projected desires become intertwined with the cinematic image:

“Think about how a film works on our minds when we enter the darkness: presented with a series of convincing and absorbing images, sounds, and performances, we are enraptured by a simulation of reality so powerful it produces genuine emotional and visceral reactions. The irony and paradox of the movie screen: a coordinated and intricate construction that by means of a skilled combination of elements—sets, makeup, actors, special effects—manages to affect both transportation from reality while also eliciting seemingly very real emotion, self-examination, and insight among its audience.

A group of strangers pay admittance to watch a flickering series of make-believe situations together, until moved to tears, screams, or feelings indisputably authentic in some sense. An odd set of circumstances. The “magic” of the movies, a true sorcery. But also, pardon the expression, kind of nuts, too. There they are: crying, yelling, anticipating, not because of another person immediately before them, or a direct situation, but because of a screen; something that in a fundamental sense is not really there. You might be persuaded to think these people freaking out because of mere images and sounds are suffering an unusual pathology of some kind.

From one perspective, they are sitting in an empty room, reacting to nothing at all. Like madmen.

Yet once the lights go back on and the street beckons, an audience carries an encounter with the illusory out of the realm of the unreal into the external world, to use it there in some fashion; to see a facet of reality more clearly, more empathetically, with greater intensity. They are truly changed. Maybe not so loony after all.”

- Via The Film Talk

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