Film Surveillance

Primary Analysis:

Written by Anders Albrechtslund, “Surveillance and Ethics in Film: Rear Window and The Conversation” is an article discussing the use of surveillance (specifically video surveillance) in two films: Rear Window and The Conversation. The author is from Aalborg University in Denmark. The article covers different points from Rear Window that focus on the protagonist and surveillance. The author reviews different technique’s of Rear Window’s director, Alfred Hitchcock.

Film Surveillance

In several of his films, watching, gazing, and looking plays an important part in the plot and theme. For Hitchcock, the act of watching others for voyeuristic pleasure is simply a basic human trait. The topic of surveillance use is portrayed as the main character in Rear Window uses his camera lens as a telescope, as well as binoculars to spy on his neighbors. When the neighbor (who is originally the prey) catches the main character (the hunter) spying on him, roles reverse, and the main character finds himself becoming the victim.

Screen Studies major at the University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia, Jessica Lake writes an article about the use of surveillance in Andrea Arnold’s film Red Road. In the context of surveillance cinema, it is exceptional in its portrayal of a woman who conducts surveillance. The prevailing theoretical model of the panopticon in surveillance studies emphasizes the power imbalances existing between organizations and ‘ordinary’ private citizens to the detriment of other perspectives of analysis such as gender. Red Road constitutes part of an emerging genre of what I have termed ‘sub-veillance’ films, in which looking is done from ‘below’, by those traditionally considered as subordinate. By reversing the dynamics of looking, ‘sub-veillance’ films challenge traditional theories and narratives of surveillance and raise questions about how our individual desires and fears are refracted through the lens to reconfigure space and screens.

So What:

Films often portray information that the viewer is unaware about whether the information is true or false in real life. Movies are a part of the lives of many, bringing about entertainment through various genres. This research will hopefully aid to showing viewers different real-life situations or aspects that are displayed throughout films, both truthfully and with some exaggeration.
In several of his films, watching, gazing, and looking plays an important part in the plot and theme. For Hitchcock, the act of watching others for voyeuristic pleasure is simply a basic human trait. The topic of surveillance use is portrayed as the main character in Rear Window uses his camera lens as a telescope, as well as binoculars to spy on his neighbors. When the neighbor (who is originally the prey) catches the main character (the hunter) spying on him, roles reverse, and the main character finds himself becoming the victim.

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