The Oxford English Dictionary offers seven unique definitions of the word film. As a means for situating film in the broader context of media, and as a means for handling the range of ways that film can be understood as a medium, it will be fruitful to initiate this reference article by making explicit two central definitions of the word. First, film is the material basis for media such as photography and motion pictures. Indeed, defining what a film is has proven to be one of the central tropes in film discourse.
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Spectators are unable to freely move, unable to affect what they see, and unable to differentiate between self and other as well as the ideologies of a film and their own thoughts. The possibility directly informs his apparatus theory, which asserts that because the average movie spectator is physically still, he or she is incapable of differentiating his or her own thoughts from the ideologies shown on-screen.
In other words, it is impossible for the camera to be objective. The filmmaker inevitably spills subtle ideologies into the images projected on-screen. Furthermore, Baudry suggests that the average movie viewer is not aware of these ideologies and simply absorbs them at face value. A lack of movement is key to this subconscious exchange. To illustrate, he compares watching a movie to dreaming.
In both situations, movement of the physical body is inhibited in darkness while the mind absorbs projected images. The immobilized viewer cannot test the reality of those images, which limits ideological autonomy Braudy and Cohen This spectator cannot control the events happening on-screen any more than he or she can control the events happening within his or her dreams.
Specifically, the audience member is unable to distinguish between self and other. Baudry specifies that this undesirable condition gives the images and ideologies on the screen tremendous and harmful power over the movie viewer.
For Baudry, the solution to maintaining ideological autonomy is to acknowledge the apparatus. This could be as simple as turning around to look at the projector. In other words, recognize that the camera is not free from ideological influence. He says it is only once the viewer recognizes the messages within the film as outside of his or her own thoughts that he or she can reclaim the ability to either accept or reject them.
The film Paprika illustrates the legitimacies and faults of this theory in the way three of its key characters move. The titular Paprika embodies the apparatus, and consequently embodies dreams and films. In the beginning of the film, the physically disabled Chairman of Psychiatry uses an able-bodied avatar to steal a DC Mini and create a collective dream from their pooled subconscious. He does so as an act of rebellion anchored in his conviction that dreams are a sacred place, the last abode of privacy among humankind, which scientists and psychiatrists should not tamper with.
I will not allow arrogant scientific technology to intrude in this holy ground. The parade multiplies as he forcibly enters the subconscious of more and more people, drawing them in. Once inside his dream, these victims lose their self-control, exhibiting the loss of autonomy Baudry fears. Within the dreamscape, victims transform into the objects from the parade: electric guitars, cell phones, golden statues, and more. No longer able to distinguish themselves from the procession, they fall victim to the ideologies of the Chairman, losing autonomy over both their thoughts and their movements.
The effect spills into reality where they begin to gleefully spout nonsense, unknowingly harm others, and jump off of buildings without hesitation. They lose touch with their actual surroundings as they are engulfed in the projected images of the dream.
Inside the dreamscape, he is not only freed from his wheelchair, but he also gains the ability to change his form and size, move inhumanly fast, and eventually wield the power to destroy an entire city at a sweep of his arm.
He or she maintains subliminal autonomy over spectators by taking control of the apparatus, precisely as Baudry theorized. Paprika, a key player in the projected dreams, is a remarkably unusual character. She is the redheaded, subconscious identity of psychiatrist, Atsuko Chiba. She can move through images, as seen in the opening credits as she jumps through a computer screen, billboard, and graphic T-shirt.
She can also manipulate motion outside of herself, causing traffic to freeze at the snap of her fingers. She has the same control over her body and the bodies of others that the Chairman gains through the DC Mini, suggesting that her liberation of motion similarly positions her as the ideological filmmaker. However, unlike the Chairman, she does not actively create dreams. She admits that in the realm of reality, as Doctor Chiba, she has stopped having her own dreams.
Most significantly of all, Paprika does not need the DC Mini to maneuver between these realms of reality and illusion. In a startling moment during the opening credits, Paprika turns to the camera and poses for the audience, revealing her awareness of her true identity. She is film itself, and all of the possible ideologies within that realm. Eventually, he successfully captures and immobilizes Paprika, putting her in a confinement she did not anticipate. From this, she entirely loses her ideological influence over others.
As film, Paprika represents the potential ideologies the filmmaker cannot control. If audiences are able to break out of the spell and reclaim their sense of self, they can interpret a film in whatever way pleases them, even if it directly contradicts the intention of the filmmaker. Criminal Detective Kogawa represents an average film viewer through and through.
In this dreamscape, Kogawa feels the hallway warp in the middle of his desperate pursuit, buckling his knees and causing him to feel as if he is running through water. Every time he experiences this nightmare, his motion is limited and he fails to catch the perpetrator, or even glimpse his face. As a patient, Kogawa has no experience operating the DC Mini and, unlike the Chairman and Paprika, no ability to manipulate his dream.
In fact, he relies entirely on Doctor Chiba who appears to him as Paprika to interpret his dream in their psychoanalytical sessions together.
However, in a pivotal scene, Kogawa begins to analyze his own nightmare while waiting for a therapy session with Paprika, who will not show because she has been captured by the Chairman. While reminiscing on the disturbing dream sequence, he discovers the root of his anxiety stems not from the unresolved case but from subconscious guilt about a past indiscretion.
In his youth, Kogawa aspired to be a filmmaker with his friend but chose another path, leaving his friend alone and their passion project unfinished. His friend died shortly after this, before completing the film, and Kogawa subconsciously continued to carry immense guilt over it. On realizing this, Kogawa takes control of both himself and his thoughts and gains the ability to move between projected dreams.
After successfully rescuing Paprika, he returns to the final replay of his own nightmare where he victoriously shoots the perpetrator in the back, metaphorically finishing his long-abandoned film project.
Kogawa develops the ability to move through dreams and manipulate his own dreamscape, frees Paprika, and conquers his own anxieties—all without both using and even understanding the DC Mini. To attain ideological autonomy and movement, he does not have to acknowledge the projector, as Baudry theorized. The movement which liberates him begins in his mind. What she sees comes under her control, unlike the dreamer or the prisoner, in large measure because of her capacity to move her head and her eyes.
And, the film viewer, as Baudry admits, can leave the theater, change her seat, or go into the lobby for a smoke Braudy and Cohen He contends that viewers are inherently aware of the projector.
Kogawa represents this natural movement and awareness. Baudry does not allow that some might be more easily swayed. The film, Paprika , supports this theory while, at the same time, demonstrating the exception. The way it finally resolves itself—through character motion—leads to the conclusion that, as Carroll argues, moviegoers do maintain a degree of ideological autonomy while watching films even if in a limited form. Awareness of implicit ideologies varies among viewers; however, everyone is capable of retaining some independent thought and sense of self while watching films—regardless of whether or not they physically turn around to acknowledge the projector.
Autonomy, as Baudry suggests, is retained as it is actively chosen to be. Paprika seems to support his theory as well—but not entirely. The central question remains: in the subconscious exchange between filmmaker and spectator, whose ideology is in control?
This quandary is as old as Plato whose escaped prisoner cannot make sense of his own reality except through the firelight of those who created the shadows he can no longer see. Baudry, Jean-Louis. Carroll, Noel. The Republic, translated by Thomas Sheehan. Stanford University, , pp. Works Cited Baudry, Jean-Louis.
Kon, Satoshi, director. Sony Pictures Classics, West, Palgrave , , pp.
Spectators are unable to freely move, unable to affect what they see, and unable to differentiate between self and other as well as the ideologies of a film and their own thoughts. The possibility directly informs his apparatus theory, which asserts that because the average movie spectator is physically still, he or she is incapable of differentiating his or her own thoughts from the ideologies shown on-screen. In other words, it is impossible for the camera to be objective. The filmmaker inevitably spills subtle ideologies into the images projected on-screen. Furthermore, Baudry suggests that the average movie viewer is not aware of these ideologies and simply absorbs them at face value. A lack of movement is key to this subconscious exchange.
Apparatus theory , derived in part from Marxist film theory , semiotics , and psychoanalysis , was a dominant theory within cinema studies during the s, following the s when psychoanalytical theories for film were popular. Apparatus theory maintains that cinema is by nature ideological because its mechanics of representation are ideological, and because the films are created to represent reality. Its mechanics of representation include the camera and editing. The central position of the spectator within the perspective of the composition is also ideological. In the simplest instance the cinematic apparatus purports to set before the eye and ear realistic images and sounds. However, the technology disguises how that reality is put together frame by frame. The meaning of a film, plus the way the viewing subject is constructed and the mechanics of the actual process and production of making the film affect the representation of the subject.