Article Title

Emotional realism and actuality: The function of prosumer aesthetics in film


Studies of film spectatorship and production techniques have rarely ignored notions of Reality. From the psychoanalytical approaches of Baudry and Metz to the auditory spaces of Doane, approaches to film reception have primarily focused on the methods and rationale behind a spectator’s investment in the reality of the spectacle. On the other hand specific techniques that assist in aligning character with spectator have been explored from both visual and auditory perspectives. Sound and music in particular are able to bring spectators into the emotional ‘space’ of a character, while ocular techniques that invoke points of view visually align the observer and observed. In essence, these techniques attempt to reflect an emotional realism or ‘truth’ inherent in the unfolding of the narrative and related to the experience of its main players.

Current trends in film and television production styles have favoured the use of aesthetics associated with prosumer and social media products. These aesthetics, including handheld shaky-cam, variable audio and open acknowledgement of the camera, have been utilised for their ability to imitate ‘reality’, to take away a little of the polish of professional film and television production and to inject the raw, ad hoc immediacy of actuality. Yet an emotional connection between a film and its spectator cannot be disregarded, and indeed represents another form of reality in film: that of emotional realism. Through a close analysis of Chronicle, this paper explores the function of prosumer aesthetics in a fictional context and examines how tropes of ‘actuality’ can inform emotional realism.


prosumer, aesthetics, fiction, film, Chronicle

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