I’m always on the lookout for interesting blogathons to take part in on this site and recently I spotted that My FilmViews¹ is hosting an intriguing one called the Five Senses Blogathon. The aim of this blogathon is simple; ‘for each of these senses you will have to describe the movie related association you have with it’. It is of course possible to write about a specific scene but the blogathon has been widened out to also include whole films and sensory associations you hold with the ‘movie going experience (so for example the smell of popcorn in the theater)’.
It was lots of fun to think up the different associations I hold for each sense, and after much deliberation I’m pleased to present my five picks!:
People who have been visiting this site long enough will know that I was fortunate enough to go into a cinema screening of Psycho with no prior knowledge of it’s plots, its twists or even the score. As a young and casual filmgoer I was granted the opportunity to see the film just like audience’s did back in 1960 and whilst the whole film had a profound affect on me (it is largely responsible for turning me into a cinephile) I most remember feeling an incredible level of excitement and thrilling dread when the Saul Bass title sequence first kicked in. To this day it’s one of the clearest and most affecting visual moments I have had with a film and so it’s my pick for the ‘Sight’ category.
Sticking with title sequences for a moment; one of my earliest memories is seeing Star Wars in the cinema as a very young child with my father. I remember very little of the film itself but what I do remember is the initial crash of the opening score as the title sequence begins. It’s my first memory of cinema and of the excitement it can create and so there was little contention for it’s place as my pick for the ‘Sound’ category.
As a child the cinema experience wasn’t really complete without a chocolate Magnum ice cream to eat during the adverts before the film. I was never very good at eating/drinking whilst the film was on as I would get so wrapped up in the story that I would forget the popcorn was sitting beside me. An ice cream on the other hand was guaranteed to be eaten because it would melt by the time the film started. I have so many fond memories of desperately trying to eat my Magnum before it melted and then settling down to watch the film undisturbed as the adverts ended and the credits began to roll. There’s no other taste which I associate with film more strongly than that one so it had to take the spot on the list!
There’s a couple of great scenes in cinema which involve smell, Apocalypse Now has quite a famous one for example, however I went for one in the great Luc Besson film Leon: The Professional. In this film Gary Oldman plays a rather dubious cop (to say the least) whose particular gifts include shouting like a maniac, conducting Beethoven on the fly and of course intensively sniffing a person in order to determine if they are lying. It’s a crazy performance really and it’s one of Oldman’s best moments when he leans in to Portman’s character’s father and slowly begins sniffing him and weeding out any lies the man may have hidden. It’s so fun and crazy that it just had to make this list.
One of the most interesting uses of touch in recent years has to be Her‘s ‘sex scene’ in which a man and his computer finally try to consummate their relationship through the use of a willing stand-in for the computer. As the man and the stranger begin to physically engage with each other, the voice of the computer/OS mixes in, simultaneously bringing the couple closer together and highlighting their distance. It’s one of the most interesting ‘sex scenes’ I’ve seen on camera and is a great example of the use of touch having a tangible effect on the viewer, the characters and the film’s philosophical and sociological discussions.
And that’s my five picks for the different senses! I hope you enjoyed reading the post, make sure you head on over here to the original page on My FilmViews to check out all the different entries!