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The University of Southampton
FilmPart of Humanities

Immersion and Specularity in the Cinema: on Pawel Pawlikowski’s Ida (2014) Seminar

Film reel
16:00 - 17:45
25 October 2016
Lecture Theatre B Avenue Campus Faculty of Humanities University of Southampton SO17 1BF

For more information regarding this seminar, please email Dr Louis Bayman at .

Event details

Part of the Film Research Seminar Series 2016 - 2017. All welcome.

Pawel Pawlikowski’s 2014 film, Ida, has a very distinct visual style. It is filmed in black and white using the Academy ratio; it utilizes a fixed camera for almost all of its shots (and the duration of those shots is typically quite long). Most strikingly, however, is the composition of many of the film’s shots: they feature characters and objects often pushed towards the foot of the screen, as though they are pushed forward in space, while at the same time vast expanses at the middle and top of the screen are often left vacant – a blank wall, a sky, a landscape. In order to try to understand why the film does this, I turn to the writings of art historian Michael Fried, especially his recent formulations of immersion and specularity (formulations he applies to some of the paintings of Caravaggio). Ultimately I claim that Ida’s visual strategies invite viewers to become ‘bodily fused’ with the spaces Ida depicts, with its characters and narrative elements.

Speaker information

Dr Richard Rushton, Lancaster University. Senior Lecturer, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts

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