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Moving Pictures

Had the oddest experience last night. I had so been looking forward to watching Lars Von Triers Melancholia and here we all were sitting around the big screen at my son's place and starting to watch when about twenty minutes in, just as the plot began to thicken, I began to feel violently ill - cold sweat, nausea etc.  I ran to the toilet and almost threw up while everyone puzzled about what might have brought it on. Was it the chocolate cheesecake? The turkey? The bit of left over pizza I ate at lunch?
No one else felt ill.
Feeling a bit better, I sat down again, ready to continue. As soon as my son pressed the play button, I was off again. It was like Kryptonite. Eventually my youngest son remembered something he'd seen on Mythbusters and looked it up on his iphone. Surprise, surprise, I am by no means alone in this. This movie was awarded a 4 Star rating in terms of how many people it affected this way and there are plenty of others. In fact, about two Christmases ago, my children took me to see Avatar in an IMAX theatre and there too, I spent most of the movie outside in the foyer, praying that it would soon be over and that I wouldn't die in the meantime. At the time I also thought it was a one off, more to do with the overindulgence of the season, than what was on the screen, but long ago when I took my sister to The Blair Witch Project, the same thing happened and I not only had to make use of the popcorn bucket for purposes for which it was never intended, but I never found out how that movie ended either. I am glad that at least no one had to shell out big money for me to not see this one.

The Movie Hurl website gives advance warnings of which movies will cause cybersickness in susceptible people. There are apparently enough of us  and so many movies using handheld camera techniques, that Canadian theatres now post warnings so that you don't waste your money. Yep, Melancholia  is right up there with four stars, but Avatar apparently only rates two which I strongly dispute. I shall definitely have to avoid Fishtank, Dancer in the Dark and Breaking the Waves which all have four stars. There are pages and pages of  others. As I look down the list I feel a twinge of saddness, that another source of pleasure in my life is slipping away. I think we need a support group to pressure directors to stop being clever and just make normal movies again, that all of us can watch without feeling nauseous. 

For a detailed explanation see or watch the following YouTube clip. Apparently the motion sensor in the brain passes very close  to the point where the vomiting reflex is located and about 70% of astronauts are affected by same.

For an interesting discussion of the effect of ever more popular 3D movies on children see the excellent article