Theory Challenge



Amani Jordan

4 April 2016

Theory Challenge

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.

Works Cited:

Arnheim, Rudolf.  “Film and Reality.”  1957.

Elsaesser, Thomas. “Cinema as Window and Frame.” 2015.

Yamaguchi, Yudai. 10 Nights of Dream. 2006.





Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s