An Olfactory Cinema: Smelling Perfume

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Abstract

While technological improvements from the era of silent movies to that of sound cinema have altered and continued to affect audience’s cinematic experiences, the question is not so much how technology has increased possibility of a sensory response to cinema, rather, it is one that exposes how such technological changes only underscore the participation of our senses and the body in one’s experience of watching film, highlighting the inherently sensorial nature of the cinematic experience. This paper aims to address the above question through an olfactory cinema, by close analysis of Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006) by Tom Tykwer. What is an olfactory cinema, and how can such an approach better our understanding of sensorial aspects found within a cinema that ostensibly favours audio-visual senses? What can we benefit from an olfactory cinema? Perhaps, it is through an olfactory cinema that one may begin to embrace the sensual quality of cinema that has been overshadowed by the naturalized ways of experiencing films solely with our eyes and ears, so much so that we desensitize ourselves to the role our senses play in cinematic experiences altogether

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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