The way I perceive it is that classical cinema was the world’s way of communicating emotions through visuals, the same way literature put feelings into words. However, now cinema communicates ideas and thoughts into visuals. It examines the realm of imagination and tests its limitations constantly, and I think this reflects our time. We are, after all, part of the computer age and everything has been affected. Consider noise pollution and how we have become a part of that, in-sync with it even. It has become a part of our daily lives – how we communicate, how we travel, the music that we listen to, and the films we watch. The music we listen to incorporates sounds that have become familiar to us. An example of this would be like techno music. This can be used to discuss the “participatory” effect. The argument here is that we require something else for a “sense of perceptual richness or immediate involvement in the image” in the technological era. How can we be completely encapsulated by this moving reality, when we are a people that experience things differently?
When Metz says, “that still photography is condemned to a perceptual past tense (‘This has been there’), while the movie spectator becomes absorbed by ‘a sense of There it is’,” I disagree. Pastness can be identified when not “with the times” thus affecting the participatory effect. Nostalgia can be considered here except that makes it another type of participation with an awareness of pastness. An example of this can be Clash of the Titans (1981). People at the time could have felt that they were completely part of the film, feeling afraid when Perseus did and feeling victorious when he would overcome each obstacle in the film. Now, when we watch a film like that, we watch it for different reasons, not for the realism but simply for the story, to know what happens.
In short, we must realize that reality means different things in different times. Just because we require different things to achieve the same sense of realism that others did before us, does not mean we have lost the art within it.