After having slept since yesterday’s post and not really paying it any more heed, I happen to be reading a selection of abstracts for a conference taking place next week, and what would you know, there happens to be a fellow presenter giving a paper in the same panel as me, and her paper is using Jean Baudrillard’s hyperrealism as a lens to discuss a particular text.
Now, it seems that Baudrillard’s theory of hyperrealism fits perfectly with what Lou experiences on the set of the TV station. And this gets me to thinking more about it, what with Lou having access to the set, and therefore being able to see that ‘on TV it [the backdrop of L.A.’s skyline] looks so real,’ and so I wonder, does this allow Lou to occupy a space between reality and the hyperreal, in that he now realises that the picture of L.A. is indeed less ‘real’ than he previously thought (whilst seeing it as the news room backdrop via his television), and so he actually occupies a privileged position, and from this vantage point is then able to manipulate any future footage to best reflect the demands of the news station, which in turn feed the cravings of a public somehow attuned to want and need ever more shocking images to go along with the storylines the news station creates?
Or is it just way simpler than that?
The quote above comes from Lou Bloom as he crosses a TV news station set and sees the backdrop used in TV news shows – a panoramic view of the city of Los Angeles.
The viewer, should s/he so choose, gets to ponder this observation as Lou inserts himself into the scene, and as the camera pans back, we not only see Lou via the screen we are watching, we also see him through the camera used to film the newsreaders. So, is it the distancing that makes it ‘look so real,’ and if so, how are we to qualify our own feelings on reality, and by extension, artifice? Is L.A. made more ‘real’ by the sheer volume of filmic representations, and is our interaction with screened images more real than our unmediated experiences? And how does that leave us all feeling about our lives in the ‘real’ world? Are we more inclined to live vicariously, if that offers us something more real than the kind of humdrum life that is not subjected to production, direction, wardrobe, and make-up, etc? Nightcrawler offers some difficult questions, to which it does not attempt to force-feed us the answers.