The Un(comfortableness) of the Point-of-View Shot in Cinema and Gaming

This session will consider the uncomfortableness of the subjective point-of-view (POV) shot and direct address in narrative cinema, and how it presents an awkward and uncomfortable space for the viewer to inhabit. The use of POV in specific films like John Carpenter’s Halloween (1978), Julian Schnabel’s Le Scaphandre et le Papillon (The Diving Bell and Butterfly, 2007) and Ilya Naishuller’s Hardcore Henry (2015), increasingly set up a space for viewers to step into the role of an offscreen protagonist, in order to see and feel through the eyes and movement of a particular character. This experience is often a highly uncomfortable one, in which the eyes of the character usually fall into one of four-character types: killers, victims, cyborgs or socially awkward characters.

The session will explore how the awkward POV shot contributes towards an awkward character type. It will also consider how this cinematically negative experience differentiates from the more pleasurable activity of the first-person shooter (FPS) in computer gaming, which incorporates the POV aesthetic but with an avatar and controller to allow a player sense of freedom and agency.

Please, note:

  • the total duration of the event is 1 hour ( ~ 50mins lecture and 10mins Q&A)
  • the talk doesn’t require any prior training and anyone can join
  • This event will be recorded: the video will be available in 3-5 days after the talk
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Daniel O'Brien
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Dr Daniel O’Brien is a Lecturer and Researcher in Film and Digital Media at the University of Essex. He has published work on film, gaming, interactive art and video essays across a range of academic journals, books and audio-visual collections. Vimeo / NECSUS Journal

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