Spectators After 9/11

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The (un)reality of films was superseded by reality on 9/11 and therefore cinema required a different kind of perception to offer to the spectators as the boundaries of imagination became altered. The events that followed the devastation which occurred on the 11th September 2001 in New York affected the way in which we perceive films, transforming our symbolic and epistemological system. This episode was beyond our imagination, beyond our words and, in Lacanian terms, we can say that it was necessary to reconcile the real and the symbolic to understand its consequences (King, 2005: 18). Our society of spectacle has almost achieved sensitive immunity to the effects of the image. In spite of the impact that they can produce, our minds do not suffer considerable damage from the horror of certain scenes. The shock of the images of the Gulf War or 9/11 are perfect examples of world events that, presented in a spectacular way, are perceived more as fiction than reality, and therefore their effects are cushioned. The cruelty and realism of media are paradoxically producing the opposite effect of what was intended: the feeling of unreality. This is the phenomenon that Baudrillard terms the ‘perfect crime’: there is no crime scene, no guilt and no trace in our memory. Nowadays, fictional films use documentary elements to gain veracity and create a special bond between the spectators’ experience of these events and the film as in United 93 (Greengrass, 2006). Respectively, documentaries fictionalise reality, using familiar information to create stories that are not necessarily verified as in The Falling Man (Singer, 2006).
Artículo presentado en el simposium: "Representing the War on Terror: post 9/11 television drama and documentary One day conference at the ATRiuM, CCI, University of Glamorgan, Cardiff Saturday November 21st 2009"
Spectators, 9/11, Media, Spectacular, Documentary, (un)reality
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