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Digital technology is allowing cinema to capture the human form with unprecedented clarity. In the era of Facebook, face films are astonishing

By Mark Cousins   January 2008

Right from the earliest days of the movies, audiences must have felt like shouting, “Look how much I can see!” The phrase, and its exclamation mark, express the pleasure of discovering new categories of visual experience in cinema: moving-image travelogues of camels at the pyramids or Tsarist splendour in Russia in the late 1890s; close-ups of the luminous faces of something called a movie star in the late 1910s; the sweeping Technicolor fantasies of the 1930s; the “liquid metal” computer-generated effects of Terminator 2 in the early 1990s. The cinema image began as a pale, fuzzy, flickering, monochrome imitation of…

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