Exploring Modes of Surveillance in Films
Keywords:surveillance cinema, gesture, metacinema, biopolitics, auto-mediacy, autoscopia, Grizzly Man
This article frames a theoretical discussion of cinematic gestures in their opposing forms, illusionism and reflexivity, exploring different modes connecting surveillance and film. One observes cinema as an illusionistic surveilling machine that records reality. In this respect, surveillance can be an “element of movie plots.” Then, given the simultaneously entrapped and swaying nature of cinematic gestures, the investigation of film reflexivity associated with surveillance reveals a dual character. The dominant one (auto-mediacy), although guided by a subversive thrust, ultimately reinforces the dynamics of the internal panopticon, the regulation, and the marketization of the self. Conversely, another form of emancipative self-reflexivity (autoscopia) operates a set of enunciations exalting the filmmaking process’ materiality. The film Grizzly Man is an example of autoscopia generating a form of technology-mediated subversive self examination.
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