Cinema as Mirror

Cinema can be seen as a mirror in three cases. When the mirror in a film is set as a narrative device in cinema, when cinema signs as a mirror and when cinema works as it stimulates our mirror neurons.

 

When the mirror in a film is set as a window on the unconsciousness, it is actually a narrative device in cinema. This characteristic of the mirror in the film reminds me of an animation film done by Satoshi Kon, which is called Paprika. there are lots of fantastic usages of mirror in Paprika. The first picture below is the main character talking to another identity of herself. The character has different identities in the real world and the dream world. To push the story forward and to reveal the connection between those two roles, the mirror in this plot acts as a narrative device which could makes the relationships clear, and the role inside the mirror, which is seen as the subconsciousness of the main character, can disclose part of the character’s inner world to the audience. The second picture below is when the character in dreamworld meets someone she dislikes, her performance is the exact opposite of what she really feels. The four parallel mirrors show the real unconsciousness and feeling of the character, which is a clever and amusing usage.

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Sometimes viewers’ safe distance to film is challenged by modernist self-reflexivity, and this is when the cinema signs as a mirror. In this case, cinema is reflectively doubling what is being seen or felt, and it is seen as an expression of experience by experience, spectators are self-reinforcing the experience while seeing film.

 

When cinema works as it stimulates viewers’ mirror neurons, it mirrors their empathy and sympathy. In Andy Coghlan’s research, it is said that the movie cigarettes can mentally light up people and arouse the parts of the smokers’ brain needed to smoke simultaneously. This circumstance is done by mirror neurons in our brain. A mirror neuron is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another, and then it tries to mirror the behaviour that it observes. When this science knowledge works with philosophy, filmmakers can produce films which are more able to arouse audience’s echo of sentiments and plan the plots in a more suitable way for audience to enjoy and get the empathy. Neurological films are born with this usage of science and philosophy. Neurological films tremendously utilize the relationship between cinema and mirror neurons, filmmakers examine different conditions of viewers while they are watching different parts of films and summarize the data, then they get the most workable template and use it to produce films which possibly caters to most viewers’ tastes and get high box-office.

 

Reference:

Badt, K. (2013) The Huffington Post. Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/karin-badt/mirror-neurons-and-why-we_b_3239534.html (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Coghlan, A. (2011) New Scientist. Available at: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn19980-movie-cigarettes-make-smokers-mentally-light-up/ (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

‘Mirror neuron’ (2017) Wikipedia. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mirror_neuron (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at: https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/22896726?utm_campaign=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss&utm_content=title (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at:  https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/22931636?refer=brainresearch (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Yan, B.R. and Shi, Y. (2016) Zhihu. Available at:  https://zhuanlan.zhihu.com/p/23025737 (Accessed: 15 February 2017).

 

Visual Reference:

Paprika (2006) Directed by Satoshi Kon [Film]. Japan: Sony Pictures Entertainment Japan.

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