4 April 2016
Word Count: 399
Fighting Pigs Within Elsaesser’s ‘Frame’ and Arnheim’s ‘Illusion’
Film must either reflect our reality or create its own. In “Cinema as Window and Frame” film theories are found between two poles: the window and the frame. The former, utilizes film as a window onto our reality. Here, the cinematic medium as a realistic art expression. The latter, the frame privileges a formalist position: we use cinema in a self-reflexive manner, calling attention to what one is viewing and experiencing To elaborate: “On the one hand, the window as a medium effaces itself completely and becomes invisible, and on the other, the frame exhibits the medium in its material specificity”(Elsaesser 16). In this week’s film, 10 Nights of Dream (Y. Yamaguchi, 2006), the frame shows itself more than the window.
The pig boxing match scene, is a framed fantasy, an imagining of Shotaro’s memories. The boxing ring is complete with flashes from unseen photographers. The villainous woman becomes a grotesque hairy, fleshy pig, punishing Shotaro with freeze framed bloody punches. The pig is created on-screen with spectacular special effects, costuming and makeup. These elements position the viewer(s) within the filmic reality of the male protagonist.
The suspension of disbelief lies within the audience members; there must a willingness to believe that Shotaro is in danger from being hurt by this anthropomorphic animal. The filmic medium does this by acting in this surrealist, fantastical, formalist way. Arnheim in “Film and Reality” elaborates on the concept of film as dream, or ‘illusion.’ He states: “Up to a certain degree, it [film] gives the impression of real life…It is always at one and the same time a flat picture post card and the scene of a living action”(Arnheim 26). Furthermore, this scene constitutes the cinematic art form as one both ‘real life’ and one of imagined fantasy.
Arnheim, Rudolf. “Film and Reality.” 1957.
Elsaesser, Thomas. “Cinema as Window and Frame.” 2015.
Yamaguchi, Yudai. 10 Nights of Dream. 2006.