The “split” between cinema as a modality and an object in cinema relocation

Written by Mengqi Zhang

“The cinema has long been both something to watch, and a way of watching something.” (Casetti, 2011) This quote can also be reflected in the progress of cinema relocation. The ideas behind the experience in a cinema comes from whether the cinema is a modality, object or both. In the progress of cinema relocation, the relationship between “where” we choose to experience and “what” we choose to watch are now just as crucial as each other. The relationship between “where” and “what” in determining a cinema experience is changing, as Casetti (2011) states, “relocation splits this unity”.img_7582

The concept of watching films is no longer restricted to the traditional cinema where we sit in the dark, amongst an audience, facing a large screen in front of us. For instance, commuters on the train may put in their headphones to watch films on their iPad. It is a way for them to pass the time and block out the chaos around them. They become engaged in the film rather than being part of their daily commute. Since we can now readily watch films anywhere and at any time on our devices, it is increasing important that the cinema has to be about the whole experience of being at the cinema and is not just simply about watching a film. Hence the cinema experience is evolving. In this case, it is therefore the modality of cinema that decides the cinema experience. On the other hand, for some people, cinema as an object may matter more in this decision when we choose to watch a film in our free time and own space.


However, in other cases, relocation blurs the border between cinema as a modality and as an object in determining a cinema experience. For example, on websites such as  Rotten Tomatoes, we can browse information about popular films as well as links for buying cinema tickets, watching films online, renting DVDs and even downloading the film. Where and what to watch is not the most important issue here. The cinema becomes an archive that allows us to access, both as a modality and an object.



Casetti, F. (2011). “Cinema Lost and Found: Trajectories of Relocation”. Screening the Past, No. 32, ‘Screen Attachments’. Available from: [Accessed 12 February 2017]

Cassette, F (2015), The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come, New York: Columbia University Press.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s