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Book Sections Year : 2014

Miniature Pleasures: On Watching Films on an iPhone


If one of the distinctive characteristics of the cinematic experience in the age of 'remediation' and 'media convergence' is the collective viewing of a film shown on a large screen, then the smartphone, as the smallest portable and personal screening device, represents its very antinomy. With its diminutive screen and set of earphones, the smartphone as screening device encourages the kind of individual and intimate viewing that appears, on the one hand, typical of spectatorial habits in the age of the digital and, on the other, more evocative of the kinetoscope's peephole apparatus than of the film theatre. As what was initially designed as a communication implement was turned into a screen on which users could stream and watch mobile images, viewers started to engage with miniature versions of complex sequences of moving images, including film images, whose intricate compositions and variations were originally intended for the cinema screen. Hence in public spaces as well as private, domestic ones-whether in the busy carriage of a commuter train or lying in the cosy surroundings of the bedroom-smartphone owners hunched over miniature, self-contained wonderlands like modern day Alices have become a familiar sight. In what follows, I propose to go beyond the debate about the 'proper' ways of screening films to concentrate instead on the specific characteristics of watching film images on very small screens. I will therefore look at issues of mobility, manipulability and distracted-versus
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hal-02919636 , version 1 (23-08-2020)



Martine Beugnet. Miniature Pleasures: On Watching Films on an iPhone. Cinematicity in Media History, Edinburgh University Press, pp.196 - 210, 2014, ⟨10.3366/edinburgh/9780748676118.003.0012⟩. ⟨hal-02919636⟩
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