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Alternative Realities

Carl Plantinga (author)

ISBN: 9780813599816

Publication Date: Dec 2020

Format: Paperback

Also available as: Hardback  

Explores the intersection between movies, reality, and fantasy; between subjective and objective representation. The book shows that surreal fantasies ground their images, sounds, and narratives in quotidian reality. On the other hand, even the most realistic documentaries rely on creative structures that are products of the human imagination.

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From their very inception, movies have served two seemingly contradictory purposes. On one hand, they transport us to fantastical worlds and display mind-boggling special effects. On the other, they can document actual events and immerse us in scenarios that feel so realistic, we might forget we are watching a work of fiction. 
Alternative Realities explores how these distinctions between cinematic fantasy and filmic realism are more porous than we might think. Through a close analysis of CGI-heavy blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Guardians of the Galaxy, it considers how even popular fantasies are grounded in emotional and social realities. Conversely, it examines how mockumentaries like This is Spinal Tap satirically call attention to the highly stylized techniques documentarians use to depict reality.
Alternative Realities takes us on a journey through many different genres of film, from the dream-like and subjective realities depicted in movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Memento, to the astonishing twists of movies like Shutter Island and The Matrix, which leave viewers in a state of epistemic uncertainty. Ultimately, it shows us how the power of cinema comes from the unique way it fuses together the objective and the subjective, the fantastical and the everyday.
Pages 114
Dimensions 178 x 114
Date Published 30 Dec 2020
Publisher Rutgers University Press
Series Quick Takes: Movies & Popular Culture
Subject/s Media studies   Film guides & reviews   Film theory & criticism  
Carl Plantinga is the Arthur H. DeKruyter Chair of Communication at Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Among his books are Screen Stories: Emotion and the Ethics of Engagement (2018) and Moving Viewers: American Film and the Spectator's Experience (2009).

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