eventsCinema and virtual reality: we’re living through a “Cultural Rebirth”.


On July 14 I went to a really interesting presentation, when MEET Digital Culture Center and Rai Cinema launched a showing of 360° virtual reality. Presented by Maria Grazia Mattei, founder and CEO of MEET, and Carlo Rodomonti, Manager of Strategic and Digital Marketing for Rai Cinema, they were joined by three brilliant talents from the short film Revenge Room: Eleonora Gaggero and Luca Chikovani, the leading actors, and director Gennaro Coppola

Meet Digital Center, a place for innovation 

Meet Digital Center is a truly inspiring place, where there’s a palpable cultural buzz around the use of new technologies. The idea is to share, experiment, and deepen the strong drive for innovation, which has now become relevant in every aspect of our social and professional lives. And I have to say that cinema is definitely one of the sectors where immersive technology can create a huge revolution. It really struck me to hear phrases like “we are living in the ‘Lumiere’ era for virtual reality” and “virtual reality will change the production process and paradigms of writing.” There’s a shared feeling of being in ‘phase zero’, where there’s massive creative energy around a technology that still seems far removed from the mainstream. It’s a crucial moment when it’s possible to create new languages, deconstruct pre-exisiting codes and experiment with new forms of interaction. 

Revenge Room: a short in virtual reality

We put on Pico interactive headsets and experienced a preview of the short, Revenge Room, by Gennaro Coppola. It’s a multi-platform story that takes on a theme that’s very salient these days—revenge porn. The impact is certainly strong—it’s really remarkable to feel like you’re actually in the scene, taking part and choosing your perspective in some way. It brought to mind the idea that the viewer is like a co-author, like in Umberto Eco’s “Lector in fabula”, and how director Quentin Tarantino represents this in his masterpieces. We’re getting closer to that vision of a viewer today, and with the support of new immersive tech it then poses a notable challenge: reinventing the language around active involvement. 

In effect, by putting on the headset you instantly understand that the whole way of engaging changes. You can’t stay still—you feel the need to move, look around and physically move around the physical/virtual space. And this will be the major test. For directors it will mean experimenting with different modalities. The paradigms of screenplays are going to need to change, and get closer to storytelling—more of a stream of consciousness than a sequence of frames. 

Where we are with virtual reality 

The global virtual reality market size was valued at USD 15.81 billion in 2020 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 18.0% from 2021 to 2028.

We’re not talking about future technology; virtual reality is already revolutionising every sector of communication. The experience will become increasingly all-encompassing, which in part comes down to accessories. Think of the evolution of controllers; like with other devices, they’re constantly getting smaller and lighter. We’re moving toward glasses. But actually, the real killer application will be decided by the transformation of content. In this period of major changes to our time and relationships, and a general spatial-temporal rethinking, we are free to remix, subvert and deconstruct. This is the moment for a cultural rebirth—one that takes advantage of technology, embraces it and makes it a tool for creativity. And the true cornerstone will be decided by the content.

Michela Di Nuzzo

« Se scrivo ciò che sento è perché così facendo abbasso la febbre di sentire». - Fernando Pessoa Giornalista e co-founder, vivo il digital come imprenditrice e appassionata. Percepisco il cambiamento come un'opportunitá mai una minaccia. Occhi spalancati e orecchie aperte, sempre pronta alla condivisione, la chiave di ogni evoluzione.

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