Mawson, Shackleton, polar expeditions — and authenticity
October 31, 2007 § 2 Comments
But modern video is too bright, too much of the moment – it anaethetizes the ordeal. The monochrome silent footage, by its very distance, makes those things endured in the past seem all the more astonishing, because they seem so distant. In seeing the films of Scott, Shackleton and Mawson we long for close-ups and the camera techniques of today that will bring them that much closer to us, but maybe it is the lack of intimacy that is their strength. When Hell Freezes’s own faux dramatised scenes were strongest when they showed figures lost in the white distance, not trying to show the agonies etched on their faces.
Or, as I argued in Pordenone 2007 – day 1 – spaces (although about filmed sport events):
it’s more important for the film to tell us that we are indeed spectators, just like the real spectators in the film, rather than to show us what happens. It’s about status — and this still new joy of “being there” thanks to the movie camera. Today the editing is complex, and the spectator is not just a priviledged individual but someone whose participation is required.