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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathGraham

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beforehand he or she had been able to identify with the filmic illusion and the film actors, that is, on the projection screen.

The Expanded Conception of the «Cinematic Situation«

In the end, apparatus theory had no answer to the question of how the psychological mechanisms it describes could be made understandable as such for the film spectator. Its starting point was the similarity of the situation of film viewing with that of the prisoner in Plato’s allegory of the cave. Thus at the same time it presumes an ideal, transcendental, external point of observation from which the entire mechanism is transparent in its psychological effects. Graham’s «Cinema» is precisely opposed to this notion. While he does provide the external observer a glimpse into the «cave,» this is achieved by the projection of the film on the mirror. This does not accomplish a demystification of the cinematic apparatus, but the opposite: a heightened, albeit differently situated mystification, since two realities meet in a disturbing way. But this is precisely what enables a critical take on the psychological effects of the apparatus.


A corresponding strategy was partially developed by Roland Barthes in his 1975 essay, «On Leaving the Movie Theater.« [17] His starting point was the observation that on leaving the cinema a complex and fascinating collision of two realities takes place, allowing the film spectator to achieve or regain critical consciousness. His considerations were aimed at maintaining or engaging the fascinating element of this collision during the film as well. In this way, Barthes argues, the film spectator could obtain a consciousness of his or her relationship to filmic representation and perception, either by achieving a critical distance by means of Brechtian techniques and breaking—and simultaneously heightening—the film’s fascination by attending to or remembering the «extracinematic surroundings.» Not the display of the technical apparatus, he argues, but basically only the complication of the relationships to a situation could offer a critical distance for the spectator—a distance not based on disillusion, but also a differently situated fascination. What in Barthes’ term however appears as the conscious game of an intellectual, was integrated by Graham into his conception of «Cinema.» This particular cinema space makes it possible—also during film viewing—to direct

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