Elsaesser in the Searchers (1956)





Elsaesser in the Searchers (1956)

            Films are always perceived as a preferable way of entering oneself or relaxing. However, cinema is more than simple recreation that is not visible to the ordinary person. This is because they transmit these messages and ideas using emotions instead of mental power. The power of cinema to elicit a wide variety of emotions is an important element that can be analyzed in film theory with useful conclusions. The film The Searchers (1956) contains a myriad of scenes, characters, and styles that have a significant effect on the senses of the viewers. Analyzing these instances of emotive elements in the film and elaborating further on their structure and effect will shed more light on The Searchers and film theory in general.

Cinema as a Visual Experience

In the book, Elsaesser discusses the place of the eye in the junction of the shot, montage, and framing. A distance is preserved in the act of perceiving that ushers in power and lowers the risk of detection. The eye symbolizes several different things counting the all-seeing eye, the wicked eye, as well as the inner eye. The camera works as a temporary eye and offers the viewer flexibility, an ethereal organ that could pass through time and space. It appears only ordinary since cinema founded around the incorporeal eye that the theme of voyeurism would be a major theory. Through the camera, the viewer was able to see Ethan Edwards, Lucy, and the Comanches. The audience was able to see the turn of events that culminated in finding Debbie and Ethan’s new quest to kill her. Benjamin and Vertov were proponents of the cinema that conquered the human senses and its capacity to demonstrate to the human eye elements that in combination were impossible by any human standard. Cinema freed people from the industrial civilization and acted as a figurative solution that opened a massive amount of potential. The male perception is intrinsic in the voyeuristic character of cinema instead of being an element of the story. Lacan argued concerning the ego ideal and ideal ego, the two aspects are continuously in disagreement with each other and this partly explains why human beings cannot be themselves. Baudry introduced this concept into film theory proposing that the device of the cinema is similar to Plato’s allegory and the shapeless human being during birth. His theory has been exposed to serious criticism in three major areas namely the spectator, gender and the narration.

The suture theory emerged to repair the cut links between the chief recognition and the viewer emanating from shifts and cuts in camera angles. It intertwines the spectator into the story by folding the dynamic angle of the camera with the inactive look of the viewer. Therefore, if the cinematic equipment were to be shown to the spectator, it would remove them from the filmic experience and place them in an almost impulsive phase. To resolve this crisis, any concern created from a preceding shot would be silenced by the subsequent shot thus “suturing” the viewer into the story. Two other methods that allow for streamlined continuous viewing include eye line cuts that the viewer presumes the viewpoint of the actor in the earlier shot and parallel montage that frequently ends in a climatic point.

Mulvey’s argument is one of the few that set the standard and eliminated other schools of thought such as the homosexual theory. In the process, she exerted power to the patriarchal structure. Analysts of this situation argue that the apparatus theory is flawed in that it is founded upon disembodiment. Additionally, it places a priority on the eye over other body parts. The eye is detached from the mind. Elsaesser proceeds to note that the apparatus theory reacted to a predicament in cinema that originated from changes in innovation and habits. Other works related to Lacan’s describe the exterior perspective as being folded into the look. This is achieved through a suturing procedure. In other words, the viewpoint of the camera is not on any character in the screen but is accompanied by standpoints of characters. This can improve the story and complicate the plot. Conversely, Foucault’s theory states that the gaze of the other is taken in by people and integrated into their prejudice to a level that there is little need for observation. This is a single course of power and would raise the concept that to observe is no longer to be aware and that it is a false impression. Luhmann proceeds further to note that people assume identity by the way other people look at them. This is realized by looking at themselves being observed. This exposes the concept of embodied perception and is less concerned with the eye single-handedly.

Cinema as a Haptic Experience

The approaches discussed by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener on the use of film through the appeal on sense of touch, indicates the premixes made on proximity. The distance created by the film’s depiction of its concepts has to enable the places being brought closer or making them physically present. In the film The Searchers, the haptic experience is enabled when the sense of touch is used in its appeal. For example, at the point where Debbie had to be protected from Martin’s intention of shooting her, the proximity is delivered as haptic. It generates in the viewer’s eyes, the sense of closer proximity to the characters at the time the arrow lands and injures Ethan. The sign of empathy is responsible for the portrayal of the touch and its assumption of the eventualities. The reaction from Ethan is then a supporting moment for both the viewer and delivery of the plot.

Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener argue that cinema acts as a tactile sense of touch other than the optic responsibility. The argument is based on the sense of haptic delivery of the touch in terms of the viewer’s perspective in a different dimension. When Ethan and Martin set their eyes on Debbie after the five-year hiatus, she has become an adolescent. The haptic reaction by the viewer calls for the immediate help delivered by Ethan and Martin in order to free her from the Comanche people and culture, especially after their brutal treatment when she was at their home. The appeal of haptic experience is more than the optical realization that Debbie has embraced the Comanche culture and is one of them. When she opts to remain with them other than leave, the assumption of her reaction is vital for understanding her response.

Haptic faculties enable understanding of cinematography through both sides of the plot development as well as the character’s role. It is constantly the shift from personal into philosophical understanding of the film. It is considerate especially when relevance is required when getting to terms to such qualities as the touch of the theme as argued by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener. In the film, when the cattle are drawn from Lars Jorgensen’s home, the realization of the Comanche ploy is attributed later rather than immediately. The personal transition into philosophical thinking about the situation demands the sense of touch into the minds of the involved searchers. There is a developed mechanism of trying to assists the group of rangers out of the predicament. It is an effective tool in the buildup of the film, as the entertainment factor is not reduced. On the other hand, the characterization is still on its required level without interference.

In the later argument of haptic use within the film, Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener are of the idea that film can be used to enable a protective shield through the sense of touch. It shows the vulnerability of various factors in the film, whilst transforming into the protective shield. It contains the fascination of the human body in different dimensions. As the events of The Searchers unfold when Scar was located and the events were unfolded by Moses Harper. Charlie and Laurie had courted and were almost married. Therefore, it was necessary for the main developers of the film to be aware. Rather than concentrate on the wedding, the protective shield of the viewer is enabled by abandoning the fistfight between Martin and Charlie. The protective shield is instigated as the viewer sees the bigger picture, which lies in wait as opposed to the touch of conflict.

Cinema as a State of Mind

Cinema as the state of mind refers to the brain’s role as the screen. It is the constant interchange between the dimensions of the screen’s requirements in fulfilling their roles of depiction, while instituting the thought process as spectator’s innermost being. Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener argue that the film has to be particular in the level of engagement in order to achieve its objectives without the obvious monotony and information burdening. In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards delivers a special role within the understanding of the mind as the screen. After getting the Medal of Honor from his previous battle, the swearing of allegiance should have been a customary activity as the viewer. Instead, he refuses. The latter reference to his character as fit to various description resembles the state of mind according to his value in it and as a person.

The movement of images and sound modulation to the nerves of the human brain enable the understanding of the brain as the cinema’s state. It is the constant shift between the state of stability and change of emotions accordingly to the development of events. Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener point to the effectiveness of such instance as ensuring that the viewer is upfront with the rollercoaster delivered in order to appreciate the style deployed. After Ethan mutilates one of the Comanche bodies during the raid, the deserted camp, and tagging of the trail is an ominous warning into the ambush lying in wait. The viewer has to battle the emotional being in the eyes of the film in order to avert any misconceived ideas of the ambush, or rather an occurrence that shapes the outcome of the film. The change achieved supports Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener’s even if it encourages monotony.

The direction of the mind and its state creates an entity into distinct aspects of the brain and the body. The pre-existing thought about the film as it develops from one stage to another is the relevant explanation by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener in their argument. The mind is independent in terms of the analysis of the events unfolding in the film, with a dimensional outlook by the body and its own terms’ production. The letter from Martin about the ongoing search to Laurie is distinct on the mind’s direction and effective provision of the information being processed. In the development of the plot, the screen functions as the deliverer of the intended message whilst sticking to the already determined pathway of the destiny. It is somewhat different from the angle described by Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener as it is an afterthought in the viewer’s eye.

Cinema as a state of the mind is also differentiated when the cognitive angle is delivered on the time warp and mind-game gaps. They are meant to help the understanding of sociological issues described in the films. It shows the constructivism and skepticism of the state of the mind in analyzing the film. Thomas Elsaesser and Malte Hagener’s argument can be traced to The Searcher’s perspective of cognitive reliance in trying to solve the issues regarding Ethan’s journey. It is meant to help portray the sociological aspects of the society according to the mind of the viewer, especially when conflicts are enabled and the struggle between good versus evil is witnessed.

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