Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena
1 On Both Sides of the Looking-Glass
Facing the screen, silver or lcd or whatever, watching a movie, a startling question is imminent. What I am seeing, is it nothing but an impersonal unfolding of a visually told story, distracting, amusing, thrilling–or is there more to it? Shut off the screen, and you’ll probably perceive a vague likeness of yourself: your mirror image. Turn it on again and the looking-glass becomes the aperture to a fictitious universe once more.
Likeness of the beholder versus the adventure provided by a movie. But is the membrane (or diaphragm) really just a sort of revolving door? A door leading either to a redundant (pseudo) mirror image or to the cinematographic quest for pleasure and excitement? The screen is, of course, not intended to serve as a (disfiguring and quite inefficient) mirror; it is nearly permanently active, customarily showing the trivia of one of the ruling media: ads, so-called news, supposedly entertaining shows.
The receiver, then, supplying the screen itself with all that trash is hardly ever turned off. One must suppose, movies aren’t all that frequently shown on those screens. Movies seem to become somewhat outdated. Up to date, maybe even more so than the telly of old, are the omnipresent i-phones and other hand-held devices. Historically, the screen, the silver screen, was intended mainly to allow the projection of films. The cinema, significantly not seldom an adapted theatre, was neither the improbable (and involuntary) looking-glass I have just evoked, nor was it...