If this video essay by Eric Faden (an Associate Professor of Film/Media Studies at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania) lacks anything, it certainly is not ambition. It’s length – it clocks in at a mammoth 46 minutes – is the first pointer but certainly not the last. As the creator himself puts it in his statement for [in]Transition, he “wanted to raise the bar of videographic criticism”. Why? Well, according to Faden, “many videographic works illustrate existing concepts; this work, however, introduces a new concept to Film/Media Studies”.
That new concept is called “Invisible Cinema”, and among other things it applies the psychological concepts of inattentional blindness and change blindness to film theory. To explain just what is meant by this concept and how it can be applied, this video essay carefully lays out its reasoning and builds a strong case in a variety of ways. “Invisible Cinema” is first situated and identified within the works of several filmmakers, before settling on Jacques Tati as the prime example of this technique. Faden doesn’t stop there but widens the scope of his essay beyond the French filmmaker, including essayistic musings on historic and modern film viewing culture.
Perhaps most impressive of all is the way this video essay combines several scientific methods and a mix of different videographic strategies to make its point. From interviews to eye tracking technology, from graphically enhancing footage to illuminating side-by-side montages: Faden makes great use of all means at his disposal.