“In Plato there is a magical ring, the Ring of Gyges, that grants invisibility to the wearer and thus potential immunity from moral consequence. In effect, the cinema forces us to don the Ring of Gyges, making the self an invisible half-participant in the world. The self becomes a viewing self, and the world becomes a world viewed. This is, in a nutshell, the cinematic condition for Cavell, and I guess I agree with him. The penalties and rewards are clear: to be ‘cinematically’ present to the world, to experience the pleasure of the movies, one must be a masochist. That is to say, to be in a relation of presence with the world cinematically, one must subject the self to the ultimate in pain and humiliation, which is nothing short of complete erasure. It has been said that the cinema is the most phenomenological of media. But whether this is a phenomenology or the absolute impossibility of one is not entirely clear.”
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