When Worlds Collide – Voyeurism In Film And Other Subtle Tactics!

Voyeurism: an act of “[experiencing] a sexual type of stimulation from observing others when they are nude or participating in lovemaking or an activity of sex.

Also, on the other hand it quite often gets used to describe a special interest in watching or observing other people’s personal goings on or sexual highlights. Voyeurism has over and over been a keen topic in film and television. Also viewing a film itself might possibly be in fact be classed as voyeuristic practices inside its own nature as the viewer of the film or television is searching for fulfilment in a fashion observing others simply living their lives.


Hitchcock’s film Rear Window and Coppola’s film The Conversation are just a couple of countless films that explore voyeurism. In Rear Window, our main character Jeff eventually searches fulfilment in secretly viewing his own neighborhood while in a chair all day and all night recovering with a broken leg. The Conversation, our main character, Caul engages in a voyeuristic pleasure just happening to have a Job as a expert in surveillance. In these two different films, voyeurism is explored in a very different way.

Rear Window, Jeff’s growing penchant for voyeurism is hugely dealt with what he clearly sees. Jeff’s Eyes are prominent tool that is utilised for the story. The film unfolds from Jeff’s viewing with his own eyes. This viewing game of Our character’s voyeurism journey is efficiently relayed to us, the audience, right through this classic movie. Us, the curious audience see Jeff’s surroundings merely through his window, with his voyeurism tools such as binoculars, lenses, his own eyes significantly from Jeff’s own vantage point.


This vantage point becomes ours. A clever film tactic, one turn after another we naturally assume his interest as the voyeur, and cleverly evolve as a cog in the wheel of this clever piece of film voyeurism. Our peculiar partaking of these questionable activities also draws similarities with other’s voyeurism and the experience with movie going in itself, us the audience glimpse or peek at the personal and private lives right on the movie or TV screen just like Jeff peeks at his surroundings curiously through his rear window. Our rear window.

As filmmakers artistically produce this voyeurism for the viewer, Rear Window shows a clever filmmaker’s view on voyeurism and this is a world wide pleasure of us all human beings that we inevitably pursue from an innate curiosity. In this particular narrative, Jeff’s peeping of his surroundings begins as simply a personal hobby, low and behold at the end of the day evolves into an something he must somehow share with his fiancé.

The questionable nature and the ethical issues with this spying at first, they are wary of, but later, they become more growingly curious in uncovering Mr. Thorwald’s malicious murder. By the shared observing, our two characters, Jeff and Lisa eventually go so far as to grow a deeper yearning for one other. Away from the narrative, our crafty filmmaker takes the viewer onto more and more levels adrenaline, skilfully manufacturing a voyeurism planted into us the audience. Despite all of this, Hitchcock’s Rear Window, peeping and spying isn’t as such a devious trait, but merely a human condition us as acceptable members of society often express in many ways.


Although Voyeurism domination of narration in Rear Window is prominently utilised by what we see, it is dominantly executed by what we hear in The Conversation. Alternatively viewing and peeping at others, Caul, quietly ‘listens in’ on these people. Subjectivity play a major role in this as the audience follows what Caul is experiencing from his point of view. We as the audience share the behaviour of voyeurism although at this present moment we as well share his broken perceptions in life. We listen in, we rely on instruments in which we completely trust. Subjectively we take in everything he takes in, and we believe it without an ounce of query. Alas, when all is shown to us in the clearest possible way, we finally realise that all along our main character’s very spying instruments were the whole story’s downfall, we as the audience are shocked right alongside him.

Concerning these film mechanisms, voyeurism in this movie in particular isn’t an all powerful instrument that can exploit other humans in spying on their personal behaviours. It’s instead a broken, subjective learning mechanism in which it is precariously on thin ice to come to informed choices based upon such flawed information.


Albeit this peeping film device in The Conversation is clearly not a satisfaction for the protagonist and us as viewers. This device is translated more as a wrongful assault on other people’s privacy that plays out as a ball and chain for us and our main character. This listening professional, Caul and many other film characters in his position on and on internally suffer the ramifications that eat away at such characters that he has inevitably placed other humans of society in such precarious positions by spying.

What Lies Beneath is the perfect hint of a shadow of Hitchcock, setting up a more updated horror / suspense-thriller with no doubt a rock-like stability of an old genius. Very quickly into this film we are nostalgically placed inside a world full of spooky neighborhood voyeurism, not at all like Rear Window.


In What Lies Beneath, Norman and his wife, Claire, appear comfortable middle class. Norman is a prominent Doctor of science who projects middle-aged macho at its highest peak of leading man qualities. The couple live in a dream house; the fact of almost every movie goer holding back a crush on Ford or Pfeiffer just adds to; and hides any blemishes in the screenplay.

Pfeiffer’s character Claire is nervous, she doesn’t trust her own inside thoughts, even her sound mind, as Hitchcock’s women can cleverly come across. The disturbing sounds emanating from the neighbors next door, a couple that have just moved in, are viewed and shockingly heard loudly shouting at one another, also the loud violent sex which is kind of ambiguous in nature as to pleasure or pain.


Filmmakers throughout the whole of film history have known that us as humans naturally love to observe other humans, however very many go through this life without much of a sincere regard for others. Society is experiencing more and more of an emptiness as we explore this very phenomenon through the eyes of these film voyeurs. This observed emptiness should be acted upon as a timely cue to start approaching our very own realities in this world with a higher sense of true empathy.

The way in which many of these characters suffer in being brought together in such close circumstances could be quite possibly be used as a cue in our own lives, in heightening our own senses to the abandonment and rejection that so many of us experience – using moving light and sound.

Lucid Being