Thoughts on thoughts and images of beautiful things

The film-viewing experience


The movies are about what we’re too scared to do in real life; or perhaps what we can’t do in real life. How else would we do what we can’t in life but absorb it through the movies? As I’m currently studying film and learning more about what film theorists have said about the film-vieweing experience, I’ve been particularly interested in what happens to us as we watch a movie. Theorists like Shobchack and Merleau-Ponty argue that we play an active role as we watch a movie, and experience it with all of our senses and throughout our whole bodies. We can, in a sense, feel what is going on screen and relate to the characters and the narrative in a way that we can’t with other art forms. That is because film is the art form that most closely resembles our reality; not only that, film can recreate reality because of its nature as a moving picture. It can take reality and rearrange it by juxtaposing certain things in side by side shots in ways that reality does not allow. Even in its ability to recreate reality, it is still the art form to display reality most like our own, and in this way, we can place ourselves in a movie for a couple hours ‘do’ what we can’t in real life. We can pause our lives for a couple of hours, fantasize, and then return to our lives, perhaps bringing some of what we absorbed from the movie to our real lives.

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