Different medium - Same problem.

Because it's not a visual medium, radio succeeds in playing with our expectations. It forces us to fill in the blanks in a way that television or cinema can't. It's a quality that's inherent, or perhaps inherently missing, in the medium - at one and the same time it's both immediate and remote. It was on this day, 64 years ago, that Orson Welles broadcast his famous "War of the Worlds" radio broadcast. It hit a live nerve, and almost immediately, and rightfully, became a classic. At the time of the broadcast people had grown accustomed to interruptions of radio broadcasts for news from Europe, so perhaps it required only one small additional step in order for people to accept that yet another broadcast was being interrupted, this time for something even more earth shattering than war in Europe.

Today it's become much more difficult to create a convincing atmosphere of reality. While preparing this project, the film "The Blair Witch Project" was broadcast on Israeli television. The film (which I didn't see) attempts to construct a convincing "documentary" premise, and apparently many viewers thought it was "for real". In that way it owes more than just a little to Welles' legacy. But since people go to a movie theater with the full knowledge that they're going to see a film, in order to maintain an aura of "reality" it's necessary to artifically imitate that reality (or not) whereas radio isn't really confronted with that problem. Imagination is allowed to run wild. In more innocent times, even the illusions we allowed ourselves to be captivated by were more benign.

What's become truly interesting is the opposite. Since we've learned to (falsely) assume that what we see on the screen is "real", a director like Bergman chooses to confront us with the apparatus of the "lie". In Persona, for instance, we see the bulb of the film projector, and the celluloid coming out of the projector itself, forcing us to remember that all we're really watching is a movie.

Go to: Believe me when I tell you ...