Drowning bodies in the contemporary film experience
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Paradoxically, over the last twenty-five years, as the actors’ physical body has gradually disappeared from the cinematic screen (with the advent of CGI simulacra), the bodily dimension of the film experience has increased. In a scenario in which cinema has spread to a myriad of monitors and displays (mobile phones, urban wallscreens, portable media players, digital and on-demand television, etc.) and the film experience seems to lose its integrity1, the spectator is still seeking a strong and involving experience, still demanding stories made up of images and sounds that can still arouse the senses. My hypothesis is that contemporary cinema is facing this mutation by developing a number of specific and recurrent experiential figures”. These figures are cases of strong and effective bodily tension, in which spectators’ motor, perceptual, emotional and mental activities are embodied into a “sensible substance”. Such a substance extends its features from the screen to the psychological space of the experience and transforms it into a unique “sensible environment”. The spectators are integrated into this environment, and empathetically act with the filmic objects and interact with the filmic subjects using their own senses.
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