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The Mind Screen

Identification Desire and Its Cinematic Arena

Georg Schmid

For well over a century cinema has exerted enormous influence, yet many questions regarding its fascination remain unanswered. Films work so well because the viewers tend to unconsciously identify with the actors/actresses. The desire to become another, substituting identity by identification, can be traced to the illusion that the filmic heroes/heroines are immortal – identifying with them raises the possibility of gaining «deathlessness.» Viewers can, without real life risks, experiment with the existential drafts presented; the power of imagination is mobilized. Based on a multidisciplinary approach (semiotics, psychoanalysis, cultural anthropology, plus a healthy dose of film history), this book presents prolegomena of a philosophy of cinema.
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1 On Both Sides of the Looking-Glass

2 The Real Groucho

3 “I” Is Another

4 Wanting to Be Another

5 Being John Malkovich. Or Michael Douglas. Or Richard Gere. Or Bill Pullman. Or Someone Younger, Maybe Someone of the Other Sex/Gender

6 Stunt Doubles, Stand-Ins, Spectators. And the Doctors

7 The Doctors (Continued)–and Those Who Need to See Them

8 “The Big Show Is Going on in My Head”

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