Written by Mengqi Zhang
I was watching Little Miss Sunshine the other day on a video website Bilibili and accidentally switched on “Danmu”. Seeing some of the comments of other viewers sliding on the top of my laptop screen, that day, my cinematic experience was completely changed by a simple click.
To those who don’t know, “Danmu” is a special feature of some video sharing websites that allow viewers to post their own comments while watching videos and to slide them as subtitles instantly at the point when all viewers watched the video.
Honestly, I am not a big fan of “Danmu”. When I watch films on one of these websites, I’d rather be alone in a darkened room, enlarge the screen, check if I have switched off “Danmu” and shut everything out of my predicted cinematic experience, constructing as Casetti calls “a bubble”(2015, p68) or “a temporary refuge”(2015, p68). However, for instance, when I watched Sherlock Holmes for the fifth time, there would be more fun for me to see other viewers’ comment and arguments and even communicate with other viewers about the film at the same time when I watch it.
At the time when cinematic dispositives were considered as an apparatus rather than an assemblage, you would not have control of audiences who share the same cinematic experience with you in the cinema. Like as Casetti(2015) illustrates, Paul, Elisabeth and Madeleine in Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis, changing seats and talking to each other can simply interrupt one’s cinematic experience. In this way, the cinematic machine is not that stable as we think it is, is it? Or we can say that it is too stable to change the state of spectator, not like the virtual audiences of whom we can choose to imagine the existence or not when we watch films online and can choose whether to communicate with other spectators online or not(Casetti, 2015).
So, thanks to the thoughtful setting on Bilibili, I can also shut down “Danmu” by a simple click and pretend to be the only one in the cinema. Now, I’m going to continue watching Little Miss Sunshine. After all, the “bubble” is fragile, but it can also be instantly constructed.
Casetti, F. (2015). Assemblage. In: The Lumière Galaxy: 7 Key Words for the Cinema to Come. New York: Columbia University Press. 60-82.
Gif captured from: Bilibili
1. bilingualbilibili. 阳光小美女.Bilibili. Available from http://www.bilibili.com/video/av1346727/ [Accessed 13 March 2017]
2. Lingqing.【BBC】神探夏洛克.Sherlock.BBC内部试播集【人人影视】(3).Bilibili. Available from http://www.bilibili.com/video/av206638/index_3.html [Accessed 13 March 2017]
3. Papercat.【剧情】男性女性 Masculin féminin.1966【标清】【戈达尔】. Bilibili. Available from http://www.bilibili.com/video/av2674726/?from=search&seid=14116943752200884449 [Accessed 13 March 2017]