The cinematic POV

I was recently reflecting on Andrew’s exercise of falling behind the eyes to foster a sense of detachment. While I was watching a movie on television, I suddenly had a flash insight that the movie itself had a point of view that shifted with the action, at one moment drawing me into the drama and then at another, transporting me into a more objective view.
As I researched the cinematic point of view online, I discovered that directors use an objective point of view when they position the camera in such a way that it simply records the scene in a direct and dispassionate way – for example, filming a scene on a street from afar with people simply walking back and forth. The subjective point of view is used to focus on an actor’s face, some other element of the scene, or direct the attention of the viewer in a way that creates an emotional connection to what is felt or experienced. In some movies from the 40’s and 50’s, directors experimented with a point of view that created an experience of events and people in a movie as though the camera were the actual eyes or head of the actor. It made the viewer feel like they were the actor him or herself experiencing the scene.
A few years ago, I read that some theoretical physicists now believe that the universe is a two-dimensional hologram – an illusion that we perceive in three dimensions. I thought about 3-D movies, marveling at how we spend our waking life in 3-dimensional space, and yet pay two or three times the amount of a ticket to watch a 2-D movie in 3-D. Why? I suspect it is because when we see a 2-D movie in 3 dimensions, it feels more real and exciting to us. Perhaps we are wired to view 2-D reality as 3-D for the same reason – that it makes waking reality seem even more real and compelling. It draws us into the narrative and we lose some sense of just being in the audience, watching a film to the conclusion and then walking out into the bright light of day.
A week or so passed after this insight about the cinematic point of view and making a connection to what Andrew offered as a shift in POV as a practice. My wife and I were watching a movie together one evening. She commented in what to me seemed an interesting synchronicity that she did not like the particular camera angle that tricks you into thinking that an unknown character is hiding in the foreground, witnessing something that is going on in a film, when in reality, and in the next frame – there is no witness – that “there is nobody there.” I smiled . . . “Exactly,” I thought in a moment of Zen . . . nobody there!


Thank you Sujata for your kind comment! I am loving this course and the ability to engage with like-minded companions on the path.