The first film we watched in our film class, to represent the height of the “classical” period of film-making, was Rear Window, by Alfred Hitchcock. It is (so I learned) a meditation on voyeurism–and what is watching films, arguably, but a type of voyeurism. The key moment of the critique of voyeurism–a critique of watching instead of living–is how Jimmy Stewart’s character cowers behind his nurse’s skirts as his girlfriend Grace Kelly is apparently about to get killed by Raymond Burr. All he has to do to stop him is to yell–across the courtyard–”I see you, stop!” Instead, he says nothing. He’s impotent (in more than one sense, apparently).
Any thoughts? Are we still voyeuristic?