Emotional Realism and Actuality: The Function of Prosumer Aesthetics in Film

Author: Celia Lam, The University of Notre Dame Australia, Australia
Published: July 2014

Citation: Lam, C. (2014). Emotional Realism and Actuality: The Function of Prosumer Aesthetics in Film. IAFOR Journal of Media, Communication & Film, 2(1). https://doi.org/10.22492/ijmcf.2.1.06


Current trends in film and television production styles have favoured the use of aesthetics associated with prosumer and social media products. These aesthetics, including handheld shaky-cam, variable audio and open acknowledgement of the camera, have been utilised for their ability to imitate reality, to take away a little of the polish of professional film and television production and to inject the raw, ad hoc immediacy of actuality. Yet an emotional connection between a film and its spectator cannot be disregarded, and represents another form of reality in film: that of emotional realism. Indeed conventional cinema relies on aural and visual techniques to generate emotional authenticity for its characters and to align them with spectators as a means to encourage investment in a believable fictional world. The application of techniques associated with real-world aesthetics in narrative contexts seems instinctively to be at odds with the aims of fictional cinema. Through a close analysis of Chronicle, this paper explores the function of prosumer aesthetics in a fictional context and examines how tropes of “reality” can inform emotional realism.


prosumer aesthetics, production techniques, fiction film, realism, reality