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Trauma is natural to cinema. In fact, film narrative is structured like traumatic experience. It was cinema editing, after all, that gave us a term for intrusive memory

By Mark Cousins   August 2005

Steven Spielberg’s new film, War of the Worlds, is Hollywood’s big, veiled portrait of 9/11. It is surprising, in a way, that it has taken this long. Traumatic experience has been Hollywood’s bread and butter since the same Spielberg had his main character face death in the form of a great white shark in Jaws. Only a matter of weeks ago the number one film at British and US box offices was Batman Begins, whose wellsprings are two distressing experiences of a young boy—the murder of his parents and his falling into a nest of bats. Nearly 10m people around…

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