Saturday, 22 October 2011


Impossibly, something absolutely perfect happened yesterday night whist watching Woody Allen’s ‘Midnight in Paris’.

For years film and video has been trying to be self-reflexive, to truly encode the fact of the making in relation to the audience. This is about how the subject, the makers and the audience are bound together in a group agreement to suspend disbelief about the act of watching a fiction of some kind, about how the cleverer works encoded this into the subject matter to reveal some deeper truth when you are in the depths of immersion in the fiction of the piece.

In the middle of the film Gil Peters goes back in time and meets Salvador Dali, Man Ray and Louis Bunuel.

Gil: I'm Gil, nice to meet you. It's a pretty name.
Bunuel responds:  A man in love with a woman from a different era. I see a photograph!
Man Ray: I see a film!
Gil: I see an insurmountable problem!

At that exact moment the projector in the cinema turned off and the safety lights came up and I was amazed that Woody Allen had arranged for thousands of cinemas across the globe to do this in every performance of the film. We sat for a moment and I mused on the nature of going to see films and engaging in fictions and what immersion and suspension of disbelief means.

A voice emitted from the projection box that ‘we’ll get the film on as soon as possible’. How amazing that Woody had issued dialogue for the cinemas to speak. Then the sound came up to let us back into the film gently, then the image, then the lights went down. What orchestration. I got back into the film.

Later I went to the box office and they told me that the electricity in the small city where I live had gone off at that exact moment.

You couldn’t have planned it...