Performing Illusions: Cinema, Special Effects, and the Virtual Actor

Performing Illusions: Cinema, Special Effects, and the Virtual Actor

by Dan North

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The camera supposedly never lies, yet film's ability to frame, cut and reconstruct all that passed before its lens made cinema the pre-eminent medium of visual illusion and revelation from the early twentieth century onwards. This volume examines film's creative history of special effects and trickery, encompassing everything from George Méliès' first trick films to the modern CGI era. Evaluating movements towards the use of computer-generated 'synthespians' in films such as Final Fantasy: the Spirits Within (2001), this title suggests that cinematic effects should be understood not as attempts to perfectly mimic real life, but as constructions of substitute realities, situating them in the cultural lineage of the stage performers and illusionists and of the nineteenth century. With analyses of films such as Destination Moon (1950), Spider-Man (2002) and the King Kong films (1933 and 2006), this new volume provides an insight into cinema's capacity to perform illusions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781905674534
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 10/14/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 256
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Dan North is Lecturer in film at the University of Exeter. He is the editor of Sights Unseen: Unfinished British Films (forthcoming, 2008).

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