Frontmatter

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Title

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pp. 3-3

Copyright

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pp. 4-4

Dedication

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pp. 5-6

Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

I have been helped extensively by a very large number of kind people, to whom I owe a very sincere debt of gratitude. These include Sandra Joy Aguilar, Columbia Broadcasting System, Los Angeles; Patty Armacost, American Society of Cinematographers, Los Angeles; Jonathon Auxier...

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Prelude. Corn

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pp. 1-22

“Reality,” no less an expert than Liza Minnelli opined to Vanity Fair in November 2010, “is something you rise above.” In saying this, and without being philosophical, she invokes “reality” as a weight, the humdrum oppression of the everyday. Liza imagines herself — and us — striving to...

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Chapter 1. Vivid Rivals

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pp. 23-76

When things look real at the movies, one can be so enthralled as to lose a sense of reality in the “reality” of the experience. I sat in an audience far below Times Square to watch Star Wars in the summer of 1977, and at the moment — that glorious and epoch-marking moment — when Han Solo...

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Chapter 2. The Two of Us

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pp. 77-124

The leap of mortality, the salto mortale, an old acrobatic trick and crowd pleaser, goes all the way back to a primitive doubling and replacement ritual in which the priest and his priesthood are simultaneously overcome and renewed through an act of extremity. Nietzsche plays upon it in the...

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Chapter 3. Being There

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pp. 125-180

Paul Philidor, who had been projecting moving images of the dead to the astonished eyes of their friends and relatives (having obtained beforehand images that he could have copied in paint onto slides), applied his art by playing to, and with, the properties of light and the imagination, La Feuille...

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Chapter 4. A Fairy Tale

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pp. 181-222

Where is it that one can claim to be, while watching the action of a film? In which of two incomparable, undocumented, unresolvable realities? In the world of the theatrical auditorium, with its dimmed lights, its plush seating, its sweeping screen, its modest projection booth, its hidden projector...

Notes

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pp. 223-233

Works Cited

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pp. 235-249

Index

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pp. 251-266

About the Author

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pp. 267-279