Eliza Steinbock
The Problem of Bodily Autonomy in the Cinematic Arts: A Review of Scott Richmond’s Cinema’s Bodily Illusions: Flying, Floating, Hallucinations (Minneapolis: Minnesota University Press, 2016)
– Criticism: A Quarterly for Literature and the Arts
Book Review 2019


In writing about the production of cinema’s felt bodily illusions for moving through space, Scott C. Richmond sets himself the task of describing what cinema does to modulate human perception, how we attune to cinema, and how cinema operates above and below the representational level, that is, at the infrastructural and circuitous sensate levels that bodies plug into during a film encounter. [….]

I enjoyed the challenge of reading with Richmond across highly technical idioms to finesse new understandings of ‘the illusion of bodily movement through onscreen space, or cinematic kinesthesis’ (18) by developing the central concepts of ‘proprioceptive aesthetics’ (chapters 1 and 5), ‘ecological phenomenology’ (chapter 3), the Epochē and the Écart (chapters 2 and 4), and ‘cinema as technics’ (chapter 6). But, for me, it was Richmond’s tackling of the simple idea that cinema presents an illusion to its audience that accomplished the difficult work of overturning hegemonic perspectives in film studies that adhere to philosophical skepticism and modernist debates on medium specificity.

↳ https://muse.jhu.edu/article/724725