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