In light of our recent focus on (re-)visualization, I found an interesting video on Slate magazine and wanted to share it with you guys. It is not really literature-related, though the Manovich article did talk about film for a bit. The video creator gathered all the close-up apartment shots from Rear Window to create a panorama of the entire space so one can see all of the plot events happening, sped-up, from the point of view of an establishing shot. I don’t think the movie itself even has an angle quite as encompassing. Here it is (n.b.: the embedded screen is rather small, so making it bigger may or may not be helpful):

This is not meant to count as an official blog post; I do not have much to say beyond tangential thoughts and my initial reaction, which was: “That’s so cool!” I suppose that, in general, the video does seem to give the viewer a sense of both critical distance through the re-mapping of both space and time. In terms of space: rather than forcing us to look through one particular window, this wider perspective allows us to choose where to gaze among various locations, albeit with the obvious loss of detail. I think Andre Bazin talked about this in relation to Citizen Kane: that the film’s deep focus and economy of montage allows for the viewer to choose where to direct her attention and thus she edits the shot herself. That constituted a sophisticated kind of film realism. (Am I getting this right?! It’s been awhile). This shot is not really deep focus– and the lighting and the fuzziness in certain spots work to direct your gaze–but the steady shot does seem to offer greater objectivity to the narrative. Realism? Maybe not.

I think that the speeding of the scenes also adds a unique and odd type of critical distance to the film. In the original version, Jeffries, the injured and immobile photographer-protagonist, directs the gaze–we see most of the scenes through his inflected eyes. The sped-up camera takes away some of the voyeuristic/emotional charge of the film (recall Hitchcock’s gauzy, slo-mo introduction to Grace Kelly in the original) and detaches us from Jeffries projections onto the apartment “windows” in front of him. Question: How does the GK crossing the threshold between buildings part contrast/compare with the original version, given the two different perspectives and speeds?

I’m not sure how useful this video would be in a scholarly conversation, but I thought it was interesting, at least, and it would be fun to talk about!

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