Cinema of Control

I want to repeat, and keep repeating, that I am not anti-MacroCinema. Many big movies have been formative experiences in my life, and occasionally I still see one that impacts my perspective on the world in a powerful way.

All the more reason, I think, to continue to discuss the ongoing and evolving role of MacroCinema in global culture. Most people watch movies at least occasionally, some watch them constantly, and even if they are waning as a cultural force, they still play a significant role in shaping our world.

Mad Max: Fury Road is probably the most critically acclaimed Big Movie in a while, and whether or not it qualifies as art, it’s a classic example of MacroCinema, crafting an exquisitely and exhaustively controlled world and narrative for the audience to experience.

This short piece (with accompanying video) reports that there are 2700 shots in the film, and that a particularly rigid strategy of visual composition was imposed upon the cinematography, to “guide” or essentially lock the eyes of the audience to the center of the frame, so that the bombardment of visual information in the individual shots (coming at an average of one cut per 1.8 seconds) could be successfully registered by the eye and processed by the cortex of the viewer.

The chaotic nature of the film is totally illusory, and any sense of choice on the part of the viewer is forcibly removed – there is not a spare second to breath or decide where to focus. If there ever were a modern example of fascist cinema, cinema without even the pretense of choice or agency on the part of the viewer – this would be it.

Which doesn’t make it a bad movie (I haven’t seen it yet, but I plan to) – it actually makes it an exemplary, superlative work of MacroCinema – fittingly made by an industry veteran, and received by an adoring public.

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