Interrogating the Image argues that movies examining the role film and television plays in the lives of their audience have created changes both in the movies themselves and in their viewers, and considers fourteen films where the moving picture is central to the narratives. Three films discussed-The Purple Rose of Cairo, Pleasantville, and The Truman Show-offer frame-breaking experiences for their characters that allow spectators to appreciate the ruptures between lived reality and media-play, delivering therapeutic payoffs that can be restorative, reconstructive, or rejective. Other examples come from the worlds of cinema (The Majestic, Matinee, Cinema Paradiso), television (Bamboozled, Network, Natural Born Killers, Medium Cool), and the sociopolitical realm where media dominates (Being There, Wag the Dog, Bob Roberts, Bulworth). Meanwhile, significant interpretive stances-reflective/reflexive, critical, and ironic-are engendered and embraced by filmmakers and audiences who create and consume these works. The result is a media-saturated culture, in transformation and best understood using cinema's interrogative resources.
Del Jacobs is a documentary filmmaker and professor of film and media studies at State College of Florida, where his explorations in film history have focused on spectatorship and genre study. He is the author of Revisioning Film Traditions: The Pseudo-Documentary and the NeoWestern.
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 Chapter 1: The Audience Chapter 3 Chapter 2: Movies About Movies: The Reflexive/Reflective Stance Chapter 4 Chapter 3: Movies About Television: The Critical Stance Chapter 5 Chapter 4: Movies About the Surreal in Media: The Ironic Stance Chapter 6 Chapter 5: Life as Movie Chapter 7 Epilogue: The Sixth Generation Audience Chapter 8 Bibliography Chapter 9 Glossary