Volume 6, Issue 1, Spring 2012
Cinematic Realism Reconsidered
The purpose of this paper is to re-examine the debate about cinematic motion in terms of the necessity for reception conditions in art. I shall argue that Gregory Currie’s rejection of weak illusionism—the view that cinematic motion is illusory—is sound, because cinematic images really move, albeit in a response-dependent
rather than garden-variety manner. In §1 I present Andrew Kania’s rigorous and compelling critique of Currie’s realism. I assess Trevor Ponech’s response to Kania in §2, and show that his focus on the cinematic experience is indicative of the direction the debate should take. §3 demonstrates that the issue is underpinned by the question of the role of reception conditions in the experience of art. In §4 I apply my observations on reception conditions to the problem of cinematic motion and conclude that Kania’s objections are unsuccessful due to his failure to acknowledge the necessary conditions for cinematic experience.