On Icarus' Wings. Cinematic experience of falling bodies

Adriano D'Aloia

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This essay describes the ways in which the film spectator experiences physically and psychically the cinematic representation of falling human bodies, with particular regard to the culmination of this movement: the impact. The latter is usually not shown on screen because of its psycho-physiological ‘violence’. Cinema employs a series of stylistic strategies – ‘replacement’, ‘obscuration’, ‘diversion’, ‘interposition’ intended to represent the ‘unrepresentable’. To explain how these strategies operate, I will draw upon both recent neurocognitive experiments and classic experimental psychology demonstrations on visual occlusion and evaluate their implications for film aesthetics. In particular, I argue that the cinematic fall is experienced empathetically. The essay concludes with a brief analysis of a short film on 9/11 by A. G. Inarritu in order to illuminate the bond forged between the aforementioned strategies and the symbolic dimensions of the film viewing experience.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)81-97
Numero di pagine17
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2011
Pubblicato esternamente


  • Effetto Tunnel
  • Esperienza filmica
  • Film experience
  • Mirror neurons
  • Neuroni specchio
  • Occlusione visiva
  • Tunnell effect
  • Visual occlusion


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