The modern medium of film has long been hailed for its capacity for producing shocks of an entertaining, thought-provoking, or even politically emancipative nature. But what is a shock, how and when does it occur, how long does it last, and are there particular techniques for producing cinematic shocks? In this text we exchange personal experiences of cinematic shocks and ponder over these questions as related to wider theories on human trauma, emancipation, and enlightenment. In conclusion we argue for a revision of anthropological notions of validity in terms of the efficacy of the cinematic shock rather than the perceived correspondence between cinema and the real.
Experimental Film and Anthropology, 2014, p. 79-98