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Lucid Dreaming in the Film Theater: A Trans-Spatial and Transcultural Approach to Long Day’s Journey into Night

Author:

Mitchell Van Vuren

Leiden University, NL
About Mitchell
ResMas student Literary Studies at Leiden University with focus on Chinese media and transculturality
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Abstract

In the current arthouse film scene, viewers often find themselves in cinematic encounters between their own and culturally different conceptual frameworks when watching foreign films. In the immersive case of Bi Gan’s film Long Day’s Journey into Night (2018), the technology of 3D film reinforces the enthralling representation of a Chinese dreamscape, which is to a large extent unfamiliar to Western audiences. In this paper, I will propose a trans-spatial approach to conceptualize this special kind of 3D dream experience, that crosses borders between cultures, spaces, and sensory dimensions. In this approach, I combine the theories of comparative film scholar Zhang Yingjin in regard to ‘traveling’ between cultures with the theories of film scholar Thomas Elsaesser on the potential of 3D to engage a viewer in the filmic world. The analysis of the film in the light of these theories then allows for the conceptualization of the viewer as ‘traveling’ or ‘floating’ through different mental spaces and as actively participating in the creation of the filmic space. Such a trans-spatial approach can then engender a new way of engaging with the spatiality of media forms that conceptualizes them as contact zones between different spaces and cultures.

How to Cite: Van Vuren, M., 2020. Lucid Dreaming in the Film Theater: A Trans-Spatial and Transcultural Approach to Long Day’s Journey into Night. Junctions: Graduate Journal of the Humanities, 5(1), pp.90–101. DOI: http://doi.org/10.33391/jgjh.82
Published on 06 Aug 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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