With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, FQ columnist Caetlin Benson-Allott rejects streaming recommendations aimed at edification and instead embarks on her personal quest to find and understand the distinctive and therapeutic pleasures of cinematic escapism. Noting that escapism has been neglected by film theorists and critics—dismissed as an undignified, unsophisticated form of spectatorship—she suggests that this oversight explains her difficulty in identifying films that grant that particular kind of pleasure. An overview of her past and present cinematic guilty pleasures, from the B-grade horror movie Leprechaun (Mark Jones, 1993) to romantic comedies like Sleepless in Seattle (Nora Ephron, 1993), helps answer the question she poses: If I don't know how to articulate the value of escapism, how can I find it when I need it?
On Platforms: In Praise of Escapism
Caetlin Benson-Allott is Provost's Distinguished Associate Professor of English and Film & Media Studies at Georgetown University and editor of JCMS. She is also the author of Killer Tapes and Shattered Screens: Video Spectatorship from VHS to File Sharing (2013) and Remote Control (2015).
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Caetlin Benson-Allott; On Platforms: In Praise of Escapism. Film Quarterly 1 September 2020; 74 (1): 75–79. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/fq.2020.74.1.75
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