Surveillance Cinema

Narrative between Technology and Politics

This essay examines both the historical emergence of surveillance themes in narrative cinema and their theoretical treatment. Arguing that the field of cinema studies has overwhelmingly distilled the discussion of complex and dynamic surveillance formations into either psychoanalytic accounts of voyeuristic pleasure or the Foucauldian model of panopticism, the essay demonstrates that the technological, political, and racial formations of surveillance that have consolidated around screen narratives complicate these theoretical parameters. Through analysis of late nineteenth century and early twentieth century short films, and the canonical example of Hitchcock’s Rear Window, the essay suggests how ‘surveillance cinema’ might be addressed with greater attention to structural and historical specificity, as well as how cinematic narrative has itself been produced as a technology of surveillance.

Released: Replika 89, 101–117.
Replika block:
Ágoston Fáber