Embodying spectatorship

From phenomenology to sensation

Authored by: Jenny Chamarette

The Routledge Companion to Cinema and Gender

Print publication date:  November  2016
Online publication date:  November  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138924956
eBook ISBN: 9781315684062
Adobe ISBN: 9781317408055


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Film-phenomenology is written from the perspective of the now. What do you see when you sit in front of a film—in the cinema, on your laptop or tablet or mobile device, in a park with an open-air inflatable screen, on television, or in a dilapidated warehouse with performers enacting parts of the film in front of you? What do you experience? Do you remember that you have a body that is connected to and through your eyes? Or do you become so engrossed in the film that you wince if flesh is pierced or a fireball erupts from a car, as if you were inside the world of the film yourself? Do you shiver from the over-active air-conditioning in the cinema or classroom, or are there goosebumps on your skin from a particularly shocking film sequence? Do you feel invited by the film to consider something other than what you see—what you hear for instance, what you are enticed to reach out to touch, or even to smell? These questions are phenomenological: they are about interrogating, describing, and accounting for the conditions that give rise to, or emerge from, the experience of viewing film.

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