Cinema as exhibition excitement

August 4, 2011 § 2 Comments

The boys and girls over at Secret Cinema have got it exactly right: they’re offering modern audiences a chance to get excited once more about going to the cinema — whether or not the film appeals. Their next event is about California classics,

While you’re at it, check out some of their videos on their website for explanations behind the events and for the Red Shoes event where the audience does not even know what the film is going to be:

That is exactly the sense of excitement that my dissertation is trying to reconstruct, with theoretical implications about what this means for the art of cinema. Glad to hear this sense of the multimedia pleasures of cinema exhibition is still alive.

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§ 2 Responses to Cinema as exhibition excitement

  • Naïve Spectator says:

    It does seem fun. At what point in a spectacle like this stop being cinema? It seems like the appeal is precisely about creating a sense of live-ness or co-presence with the diegetic world that is necessarily absent in cinema.

  • Fabrice says:

    There’s a short and a long answer to your question. The long answer is my dissertation 🙂 on the blurring of the line between diegetic and “real” worlds in exhibition methods of hollywood silent films during the 1920s. The short answer is that for most of its history cinema has not only tolerated but actively developed such exhibition methods. At least Hollywood cinema. Now critical notions after the war of cinema as an art form posited that 1/ films needed authors and 2/ films needed to be treated as “texts” that were as removed and intangible as classical masterpieces of literature, so such exhibition methods fell out of critical favor. But they are part and parcel of the fun of movie-going, precisely because they seek to create co-presence as you so aptly put it, and thus complement film by offering a dual pleasure: the film world is both here and not here (hence the many analogies with dream state and so on in the critical literature, but that’s another story). It’s a form of very advanced pleasure with fictional worlds: being made aware of their distance while being dragged into them. It is cinema as an intimate, and complicit pleasure.
    And it’s good business sense too as it extends the life of the product beyond the cinema walls, of course.

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