KINO-JOURNAL of THE AMAZED SPECTATOR # 3235W
EDGAR PÊRA –I’d like to ask you first if you remember what was the first movie you saw in a cinema theatre.
WANDA STRAUVEN – Yes, the first movie I saw in a movie theatre, well that I remember… it was Pinocchio, the Walt Disney animation film. And I also remember that I was very, very frightened and especially when Pinocchio and Geppetto with the little boat going to the whale and the belly of the whale, and I remember I was screaming: “No, don’t go there!” So there was really like a traumatic moment I remember. The very first theatrical movie experience.
EP –What kind of amazement did you felt at the time?
WANDA STRAUVEN -The impact of the image of course that was so frightening, so it was a kind of negative amazement.I don’t remember much more of the film (…) but my parents of course told me also about this moment. It´s kind of a mediated memory. And I also remember (…) that I went to see a film each year with the whole family, all the cousins, every Christmas, we would go to see the new release. Something I remember, maybe the amazement was more being in the movie theatre.
EP – And what was your first amazement at language of cinema?
WANDA STRAUVEN – I think that the fact we would go every year and it was just a one year event, going to the cinema to see the new Disney film… that really made me aware of: “yeah, there is cinema”. If you do it just once a year and a whole year you´re looking forward to that moment, you know there is a cinema, there is a movie theatre and it’s something different, it’s different from television that we had, of course, at home first in black and white and…so there was yes…you as a child you get to understand what cinema is very early on.
But then, as a teenager I would go to the movies with friends and pick out myself the films and come look to all the posters…that’s really when my cinema experience started, I would say.
EP – And what kind of difference you see, well that must be many differences but the main differences in you as a neo-spectator in your childhood and your daughter… What do you think that has changed?
WANDA STRAUVEN – Yes, I think a lot of things changed…continuously changing… cinema is really being reinvented. And it has to do with several aspects not only of course the industry but also with the fact that we’re surrounded by all these media devices on which we can watch films. When I was a child we had a TV but we didn’t have a DVD player yet, the videotapes came much that later on… but that were the only moments you could watch films outside the movie theatre. But now you can do it not only at your home but also when you’re on the move, you can watch it on mobile devices, on your tablets.
Everywhere in the house, you just take the computer with you and you move around and that’s the way children first experience moving images so it’s not in a movie theatre as I did as a child but it’s really through this “relocation of cinema” – it’s a concept by Francesco Casetti – that children really get their first cinema experience, outside the movie theatre and that’s a very fundamental change and it starts very early.
I remember I would show the first Mickey Mouse clips on Youtube to my child when she was about 2 years old. And they get to know, they understand very quickly the logic, this new logic of cinema because they also start playing themselves on Youtube and going from one clip to the other clip like kind of creating their own film programmes , and I see there’s some connection with the early cinema but it’s also very different. Because in early cinema we have these very mixed programmes, where all genres could be combined and that’s something kids also do. On Youtube they make their own, they mix genres, they go from animation clip to a pop song, to a documentary…all very short clips and they create a kind of…putting together in their own video programme, but they do it themselves so there is not an exhibitor or a showman making the programme as it was in the early days of cinema, but they do it themselves, they become very intuitive film programmers.
And that I think it’s very different, and then there’s another aspect…children are not only watching films but also making films, very early on because we have all these devices that now can make films, not only cameras but also smartphones and tablets, etc. It’s so easy and they discover it very early on so they have a complete different engagement with the moving image.
EP- Modernity and dispersion of attention were connected to the invention of cinema. At the same time, children today have this dispersion of attention very very early. They realize the world is already fragmented before… much before than we did, don’t you think?
WANDA STRAUVEN – Yes, indeed. In relation to modernity it has been connected with distraction, this kind of reveals some cultural pessimism of course, the distracted spectator, which is different from the amazed spectator or the astonished spectator, so distraction as a kind of negative effect in all this fragmentation. I think I rather like to think of the film spectator of today as an eclectic film spectator because it’s also an enrichment for our visual culture. The fact that we can, indeed, find all this very very diverse material just by the click of a mouse, and I think… yes… with the children it is indeed… they get to know the world on a much more fragmented way than we did, probably. And we will have to see what will be the effect of that but I see it more as a new challenge and they have to come up with new strategies to deal with it. (to be continued)
3D ANAGLYPH PICTURES – © Edgar Pêra – Production Bando À Parte