|Georges Melies': VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE (1902)|
Fantasy genre films act in the same fashion. Films such as the recent “Avatar” and “Pan’s Labyrinth” were truly outstanding examples of a film that was too “incredible” for the conscious mind to fathom, yet the director’s ability to use tools such as color, light, sound, sets, music, effects, CGI and more forces the audience into a trance state.
In 1966, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” stunned audiences with such graphic language and scenes, yet we all bought-in. Why? The realism. The script punched audiences in the face like an angry-fist. It was the hypnotic patters of language and story-telling that grabbed us. It was the combination of script and performance that elevated this genre to a point where audiences simply do not like to think of actor’s really “acting” – rather that they are drawing from something deep-down inside of themselves that really illuminates their performance on screen to the point where it becomes real. One only needs to take a look at the performance by Sandy Dennis where she says “I like to dance….and you don’t want me to dance.” It is purely gripping – and audiences at this point of the film have completely consigned to oblivion in respect to the real world at this point.
Antonioni’s “Blow-Up” would later follow in 1966 causing another wrinkle in the hearts, minds and ultimately – the consciousness of film-goers.
Adult films also qualify. Do we as audiences not have a vested interest in what we see on the screen? Laugh if you will, but there is little doubt in my mind that avid viewers of these films and fans of this genre allow this vehicle to completely transport them into another type of consciousness – and desire for that matter. The outside world is forgotten and all of our problems have completely melted away.
Film is a vehicle. Placed in Lehman’s terms: Film hypnotizes us without us knowing it. As a matter of fact, the great films should always strive to tap into the subconscious mind of the audience while creating an “altered state”. For a film to simply be brilliant it must utilize traces of realism combined with touches of abstract expressionism per se to create enough balance that audiences will want to become deeply involved. Casting, script, lighting, sound, effects and editing remain crucial to the process. What remains constant is that in order for the movie-making industry to continue to offer audiences the full experience of “escape”, and to begin giving us this drug all over again, we simply have to care about the subject and the specific motivation of characters on screen. I just do not see films doing this in this era of today.
Allow me now to turn this topic over to Jer to respond to along with two (2) questions attached: “Do you feel that films today are truly placing audiences in a hypnotic state”? Finally, what films over the years do you feel have been most effective at transporting your conscious state into a dream-like state?
The first film to capture our state of imagination is also one of the earliest films ever made: French director Georges Melies took us on a journey to the moon in 1902's VOYAGE DANS LA LUNE. This would only be the start for both audiences and film makers to take the leap forward into expanding the concept of film to be used as a medium for artistic expression for years to come. Well, now giving it some second thought…I could maybe plea the case that an “attempt” to make more imaginary films are taking place now then ever before because of the advancement in cinema technology, namely the use of CGI (Computer Generated Images). Films like TERMINATOR 2, THE LORD OF THE RINGS and THE MATRIX are just a small example of the worlds we have been able to view. Allow me to discuss the more successful use of these techniques and how they have transported our imaginations to other places.
|THE ELEPHANT MAN (1980)|
JOHNNY CHAZZ: The "suspension" of reality as you refer to here Jer is well taken and hits home with our topic at hand this week. What the audience interprets as "fantasy" certainly qualifies as a worthy escape, and thus - audiences find themselves in that hypnotic-state.
How about "Inception" (2010) as another film that recently placed us in a hypnotic state? Heck, during that film my occasional move to my popcorn bag was my own little "totem" in a sense.
So, we turn the attention of this blog over to our audience to see what films in particular hold them in that hypnotic-grip when watching. In essence - what films out there simply engross you when you experience them? Are we just mesmerized and transfixed visually, or are we simply being controlled / hypnotized by the hand of the director and the players? Perhaps the power lies within: Films have the power to change and to alter the way we think and feel about the world around us. Is it subliminal per se? Is it really fair, or is it in a bizarre sense....a violation? We leave this for you decide this week ~