The Innate Irresistibility of Film

Scientific American:

When I was seven years old, my mom took me to see Curly Sue. Though I don’t remember much of the movie, two scenes made quite the impression: the first, when James Belushi asks Alisan Porter to hit him on the head with a baseball bat, and the second, when Bill, Sue, and Grey sit in the 3-D movie theater.

At first glance, that second one doesn’t seem to pack quite the same punch–insert pun grimace here–as a little girl swinging a huge bat at a man’s forehead. But I found it irresistible. A wide shot of the entire movie theater, and all of the faces—in 3-D glasses, of course—moving and reacting in perfect unison. Heads swerve left. Heads swerve right. Gasps. Ducks. Frowns. All in a beautifully choreographed synchronicity.

What made the scene so memorable to me? I’m not entirely sure, but I can only imagine that it was awe at the realization that, at certain moments, we can all be made to experience the same emotions in similar fashion. I don’t think I ever understood before that when I watched a movie, it wasn’t just me watching and reacting. Everyone else was watching and reacting along with me. And chances are, they were doing it in much the same way.

Read the whole story: Scientific American

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