On the cinesomaticism of Buried

Discussions of cinema can usually begin with: formulaic genre definition; witty one-liners to grab the attention; or an outright, honest statement from the critic either about how they feel now and felt on viewing or about their general approach – I now approach film through the body.

See what I did there? Good. Now we’re in session and the necessaries are done.

I think I’m not afraid of much – I can’t be sure, of course but I’m definitely not easily scared, weirded/grossed out or made faint. That is one of the reasons I’m writng about Buried a couple of days before Christmas.

Buried was one of the stand-out releases of this year for me. Not for its politics and not for its acting, though both were exceptional, no. Buried stood out in 2010 because of its direction.

Buried, if you didn’t see anything about it this year, was about a man who had been buried. Exceptionally, he remained buried for the rest of the film but never once was I bored.

I wasn’t bored because at every moment of the film, I was buried too.

The direction and cinematography were done so well that when the screen was black, my eyes felt the deep blackness of absolute darkness and I heard the blood in my ears pounding – the cinema itself was shrinking.

When our singular corporeal figure on screen loses an appendage, I had to bite my lip to stop myself from feeling sympathy pains. It is this extension, not only of the tactile eye but, of my very nervous system that makes a comprehensive cinesomaticism.

Buried made me feel pain, feel slightly claustrophobic and – above most films – it made me feel.

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