Voyeur camera and points of view

Voyeur camera and points of view
Voyeur camera and points of view

Voyeur camera and points of view

In the climactic scene immediately prior to Vivian’s murder there are at least three anchor points which serve to determine the viewer’s perspective. First there is (a) the extradiegetic camera (actually camera?, as we cut between different angles), filming fitst Vivian and then Mark and Vivian, ostensibly invisible to them and representing no intradiegetic presence reallifecam voyeur. Next there is (b) the studio camera through which Vivian looks, and through which on occasions the viewer may imagine that he or she is looking. And then there is (c) Mark’s own ciné-camera, the one with which he actually films Vivian’s death. In the closing seconds of this scene it is not always clear whether we are being given (a) or (c).

Shots of Mark filming are clearly from the perspective of (b), as we see his own camera from an angle incompatible with that of the observed studio camera. And early shots of Mark filming Vivian are clearly seen ‘through’ the lens of his own camera, as we see the cross of the viewfinder. But later head-on shots of Vivian give the impression of being seen from the perspective voyeuse gratuity of Mark’s camera, although Vivian is actually looking (I think) very slightly to our left. As the knife-ended tripod leg is held in Mark’s left hand we may assume that it is this that fixes her gaze, and that this is why her eyes are not pointed directly at the lens.

We can indeed see the shadowy tripod leg along with what we may later assume is the attached mirror, the ‘something else’ mentioned by Mark, although side-on shots of the blade-carrying leg do not reveal it. But, paradoxically, although we do not see the cross of his camera viewfinder as we have earlier in this scene and in the film’s opening sequence, our perspective amateur seems so close to that of Mark’s own camera that although logically the perspective would seem to be (a), the viewer does I think assume that it is actually (c).

Although the cross disappears from the viewfinder in this reading, Mark’s chalking of a cross on the floor to mark the spot on which he wishes Vivian to stand may be taken as some sort of wish to transfer that reality that he observes through his viewfinder on to the world outside the camera. When she does stand in the allotted space, Vivian obscures the cross shower voyeur (which is proleptically the cross over her grave); her presence thus deletes the reminder that we are seeing through Mark’s viewfinder, so that the subsequent absence of the viewfinder cross seems oddly appropriate.

This invisibility of the viewfinder cross captures Mark’s subjective experience of the scene: for h im the camera is invisible, just as it will be when he views the film that he is taking. Also important is the fact that in the closing seconds of this scene, after Mark has said, ‘There’s something else’, the soundtrack restarts the ‘dramatic’ music, warning the audience videos camera of the impending dramatic climax and increasing our sense both of Mark’s growing sexual excitement and also of the managed nature of the presentation.

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