The Cage

I found Sidney Peterson's film The Cage to be a well rounded protest against censorship. The film begins in an artist's studio with special effects to enhance the visual experience of seeing the art. I found these special effects, specifically the mirror effect used, to make the film more visually alluring. As the plot moves on and the artist looses his eye, more people come into the picture. Another man switches places with the artist and has lost his eye while the artist gains his back, but finds his head in a cage. These two men, the artist and the man who protects the eyeball, symbolize the creative or artistic community for freedom of artistic expression. There is a another man in a lab coat who is trying to shoot the eye. This man is a conformist and symbolizes the conservative community. Through trying to shoot the eye, the man is trying to stunt and destroy the artistic and creative aspects the eye innately possesses. However, the artist has a cage around his head which stands for the rules the conservatives have placed to inhibit his creativity. The woman that accompanies the conservative man does not really take a stand on either side of the matter. She seems to try to comfort both opposing sides. The use of special effects enhance the theme of protecting art. The use of stop motion, distortion, and change within point of view allow the spectator to examine the endless boundaries of creativity the eye possesses. Through this examination, the spectator is able to appreciate the freedom of expression that each person is allowed.
--Eva Jones, 2000

This film was very interesting and yet confusing at the same time. It did not have a narrative and I feel that to understand it more fully, I would have to see it again. It was definitely intriguing and thought provoking. Peterson's use of the viewpoint from the eyeball's view allowed us to see things in a different light. The use of the image of the people walking backwards was interesting and it stated an important point. It made a clear definition between the main characters and the general public. It gave the idea that it is not the main characters who have radical, "wrong" thoughts and beliefs, but it is the general public whose thoughts are "wrong" and radical. It clearly divided the two and showed that the differences between the main characters and the general public are definite. The doctor is a part of the general public in a way because he is trying to control and stop the situation. The doctor refuses to even touch the eye. When trying to stop the eye and capture it, he uses guns and darts. When the alter ego of the main character goes to pick it up, the doctor instantly pushes him away. It is as if the eye is evil and resented. Like Eva stated, the eye could represent uncensored thoughts, ideas, and art. Many people are not willing to accept these new ideas and they look down on those who do.
--Erica Ferry, 2000

I agree with Eva that the artist and the man who lose his eye they are looking for freedom of expression through art.

I also like the idea how they used the eye as a focus point and how the viewer see the world. I liked the special effects on how they got people to walk backwards and the way the manipulated objects to be in one spot then in the next scene the object is a different place.
--Helene Dacey, 2000

Sidney Peterson Work