The Experience of New Movie Technologies
Cinematic Appeals follows the effect of technological innovation on the cinema experience, specifically the introduction of widescreen and stereoscopic 3D systems in the 1950s, the rise of digital cinema in the 1990s, and the transition to digital 3D since 2005. Widescreen cinema promised to draw the viewer into the world of the screen, enabling larger-than-life close-ups of already larger-than-life actors. This technology fostered the illusion of physically entering a film, enhancing the semblance of realism. Alternatively, the digital era was less concerned with the viewer's physical response and more with information flow, awe, and the reevaluation of spatiality and embodiment. This study ultimately shows how cinematic technology and the human experience shape and respond to each other over time.
Ariel Rogers's fascinating book looks at the affective addresses of technologically-innovative periods in film history to explore the different notions of spectatorial embodiment these technologies provide, from the immersive participation of the widescreen era to the relative disembodiment of the fragmented and alienated spectator in the digital era. She has made an important intervention in the ongoing discussions of spectatorship and embodiment in the cinema that will determine the direction of future scholarship in those fields.
John Belton, Rutgers University
List of IllustrationsAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Moving Machines1. "Smothered in Baked Alaska": The Anxious Appeal of Widescreen Cinema2. East of Eden in CinemaScope: Intimacy Writ Large3. Digital Cinema's Heterogeneous Appeal: Debates on Embodiment, Intersubjectivity, and Immediacy4. Awe and Aggression: The Experience of Erasure in The Phantom Menace and The Celebration5. Points of Convergence: Conceptualizing the Appeal of 3D Cinema Then and NowNotesSelected BibliographyIndex
Read the introduction "Moving Machines":