Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age by Adam Lowenstein

By Adam Lowenstein

This hugely resourceful and cutting edge ebook argues for an increased feel either one of the medium of cinema and of the types of spectatorship that cinema yields, and it unearths the promise of surrealism alive in modern media practices. Dreaming of Cinema may be of significant curiosity to quite a lot of movie and media scholars.

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Additional info for Dreaming of Cinema: Spectatorship, Surrealism, and the Age of Digital Media (Film and Culture)

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Unfortunately not one of them can be justified. Not one of these claims can be supported by either evidence or logic, as I aim to demonstrate. Yet each one looked disturbingly obvious and persuasive. So persuasive in fact that only a fool or a villain would ignore that obviousness. … How can we understand ‘media influence’… Is there, as claimed, an overwhelming body of evidence for ‘harm’… And just what is ‘media violence’? How can we tell what the ‘message’ of a film is? There have been claims about ‘new, bad media images’ for a very long time.

They will really rape her, but no one will notice, because they will assume her screams are simulated. In no sense at all will this narrative, and this scene within it, support a claim of ‘getting the viewers to identify with the attackers’. The whole film is about male domination, and the forms through which it is enforced. It is precisely these ambiguities, and the deliberate breakdown of the narrative, which make this scene so meaningful, and so powerful. The reason for spending so much time on this is because it throws into 34 THE NEWSON REPORT relief the question: how can we know what the ‘message’ of a film is?

Furthermore, in recent films they frequently delight in the sexual possibilities raised by the figure of the vampire, an involvement which Cherry calls a ‘subversive affinity’ with the monsters who threaten the women in the films (along with a pleasure in the gothic romanticisation of the past carried by costume and setting). At the same time, the small but significant crop of recent films with strong female leads (the Alien series being the most obvious example) has offered, for some women, a more straightforward involvement in the pleasures of horror.

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