Monday, March 17, 2008

Can't stop looking out the Rear Window

”Rear Window” – Can’t Help But Look

It is all too familiar to us, trying to catch a glance without being seen. Although we’ve all done it, it is nearly impossible for us to understand why we want to. People are fascinated by the lives of others. Having so many secrets of our own, the thought of getting in on someone else’s just seems awfully tempting. Could it be that we are looking for something we wish we had? Could it be that we are looking for someone who shares in some common emotion or problem? Could it be that we seek validation with ourselves through the trials and tribulations of another? Whatever the reason, it is an unexplainable cultural phenomenon that existed long before Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, and that still exists today.The film draws directly on this idea of spying and how it can draw us in beyond our control. It shows how a hidden curiosity within us can be disrupted and not go away.

I feel that the theme of the movie and the film itself are more relevant than ever in today’s culture. Just turn on the television and you will find an endless number of reality shows, some stations devoted entirely to reality shows themselves. These are programs developed with use of cameras that get us into peoples personal lives (most of the time) with the consent of those being “watched” purely for the viewer’s pleasure at home. What the viewer receives from these programs no one really knows. It is some kind of hidden phenomenon that has erupted in the last decade.

Another example of this idea and its relevance today is certain content on the Internet. There are websites and companies dedicated solely to collecting information about celebrities and more important people’s lives. They give us their finding’s and their personal feelings on that individual, most of the time in a blog format, much like the one we use in this Visual Culture class.

Bottom line, it is a cultural phenomenon that was obviously shared by many at the time of Hitchcock’s film “Rear Window, and one that is still very prevalent today. It is something that fascinates us, entertains us, reassures us, and moves us all with just a simple glance through the rear window into someone else’s life…

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