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The Amazed Spectator: An Essay Film Focused on the Viewers

Teresa LIMA


This article intends to identify characteristic traits of the essay film in The Amazed Spectator / O Espectador Espantado (2016), by the Portuguese filmmaker Edgar Pêra. Throughout the analysis, I reflect on how the use of different types of resources—technical (3D), compositional (color and space) and social (the communities involved)—combine to create a sensory object, one which not only aims to question the relationship between the viewers and the films but is also helpful in understanding the director’s praxis. More than providing answers, The Amazed Spectator poses questions, prompting a constant dialogue, be it between the film’s interviewees, be it among the actors who represent the different kinds of film audiences or the viewers, who watch Pêra’s film. Positioning myself as a viewer of the said film, I try to reproduce sensations, add further layers of doubt to the questions posed and erect a new discourse on the The Amazed Spectator. Amongst enigmas and contradictions, one can state that The Amazed Spectator is an essay film about cinema (more specifically about the opposition between window cinema and screen cinema) but might also be about life. That is to say, the way that the viewers—amongst the fear and the awe—go about assuming either a more passive or a more interventional stance towards the world.

Keywords: The Amazed Spectator, essay film, spectatorship, Edgar Pêra, 3D

DOI: 10.24193/ekphrasis.26.9