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Seen and Not Seen: Confessions of a Movie Autist Paperback – 30 Jan 2015

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4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews from the U.S.

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About the Author

Jasun Horsley is an author, independent scholar and transmedia storyteller. He lives in Canada.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 6 reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jasun Horsley's Most Revealing Book... so far. 23 Feb. 2015
By Nalyd Khezr Bey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I consider this book a must read for anyone interested in how we have all been programmed by popular culture, particularly by the film industry. But that is not all this book is about. In fact, that's just a surface element; a kind of metaphor for a larger movie screen. At its core it is a document of one man's attempt, in writing, to uncover the inner processes of his own psyche, to understand how those processes came to be as they are and to effectively undo them to inch slightly closer to being a more authentic, whole human being. No more pretense. No more cover stories. If you're someone who has struggled with being or becoming who you are then this book will serve, not as an instruction manual, but as an example of how this is done.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warning: Red Pill in Book's Clothing 12 July 2015
By Kanye West - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's a bit difficult to review the book, as it's not currently in my possession; I've given it to my mother, who has then passed it on to my brother. It is just that kind of book—one that will make you think of someone you know who absolutely must read it. This was a very personal narrative for me, as my brother has toiled for nearly ten years in Hollywood and has, in the end, come to dust.

There couldn't be a more relevant book for our times. Through a relentless process of individuation, where all layers of culture are shed like snakeskin, Jasun emerges with eyes wide open. It begins (where else?) in his childhood, where with the wisdom of hindsight, Jasun examines his "obsession" with fantasy, in comics and Clint Eastwood movies. Ever-present throughout is the idea of trauma and how it creates a dissociation in our psyche and how we seek meaning through the mirror of entertainment. Rene Girard's mimetic theory is introduced. Autism, or neuro-diversity, is explored. The book is more autobiographical than anything, the author baring himself before us. We learn of his complicated and tragic history with his brother, Sebastian. Earlier works of his (The Blood Poets) are re-examined, elaborated upon. It's easy to see there will be a sequel (and it keeps getting better).

Certain films are highlighted, like Taxi Driver and Blue Velvet. Mostly, movies that explore darker regions of our culture's unconscious. You simply won't be able to watch a movie in the same light after reading this book. Once upon a time, we would eat our buttery popcorn and hold hands with our loved one, and stare mindlessly at the vapid screen. Jasun's penetrating perspective pierces the veil and reveals our complicity, our guilt in the abduction of our very consciousness. Yet it seems he is chasing after a Macguffin; he even seems aware of this. After all, he is admittedly writing another book about movies.

The perplexing thesis (maybe) presented in the book is that we must see our way not out but through. We must account for our obsessions, our heroes, our enemies. Who is writing our script? Hollywood is the mythic template for such a herculean task.

These ideas aren't new or even radical; in fact they are totally logical, and dare I say inevitable. Yet somehow, this is a rarely approached subject. Probably because it is too controversial, too personal. We want to watch movies to take our mind off things, but our mind is being taken. Kudos to Jasun for raking the muck.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surely that is a better place to be than in yet another matrix 26 April 2016
By Guy Commenting on the Internet - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A highly personal and provocative account of cinema, family secrets, depravity and the intersection between what drives us and threatens to destroy us. Mr. Horsley is a compelling and polished writer, forcing you into his corner with overwhelming honesty and curious insights. Part memoir, film critique and exploration, the thoughtful reflection and analysis sends one alternating between the unsettling occult of the unconscious to the soaring possibilities that glimmer in redemption and resolution of trauma. While the work ends with more of a cross-roads than a resolution, surely that is a better place to be than in yet another matrix?
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finished this book in just a few days. Jasun's ... 25 April 2016
By Mollie B. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Finished this book in just a few days. Jasun's thoroughness & honesty can't be derailed once he goes exploring which makes for a rare & special read. I'm not sure if his confessions intentionally lead you to find cracks & corridors in your own personal cover-ups but be warned: You take a seemingly innocent voyeuristic peak into his world & when you're finished you turn around to find your own reality almost unrecognizable. Seen and not seen- the true meat of the matter lies in what cannot be unseen once you go looking with Mr. Horsley.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Personal Conversation 20 April 2015
By Rich Moreland - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Unlike Dante, Jasun Horsley has many Virgils in his journey of self-discovery. Critic Pauline Kael, “enlightenment” guru Dave Oshana, and author Jonathan Lethem, to name few. However, like the Florentine, Horsley encounters a collection of contemporaries in his personal odyssey of understanding. His brother Sebastian, who traded his soul in a Faustian bargain, an alcoholic mother, a disingenuous elitist grandfather, and a father who walks away are those of the familial sort. On the other hand, the images on the silver screen that shape Horsley's self-contained universe are another, more shadowy variety.

Seen and Unseen is autobiographical, the author admits. But it is also a struggle with autistic tendencies that urge him to carve out a space for himself in a kaleidoscope of movie magic. “I was drawn to [film] works that mirrored my own internal psychological conflict,” Horsley says. His adolescence, for example, was seduced by Western heroes like John Wayne and Clint Eastwood whose fictional narratives portray loneliness, longing, and isolation.

The autist's identification with Taxi Driver’s Travis Bickle is intense and superbly written. In his theater of violence, Bickle “takes control” and refuses to be a “passive victim.” Yet his disconnection with manners and propriety normalizes taking a date to a porno flick. Doesn't everyone?

Interspersed along the path of Horsley’s psychological and emotional journey are engaging and richly told accounts of people who have influenced him, Pauline Kael most notable. Additionally, there are realizations and revelations that have shaped his film autuerism. Most fascinating is his explanation of the Hollywood Revenge Fantasy, a manipulative Tinsel town subterfuge that excuses on-screen brutality. According to the author, the “audience’s emotion” is built up to a point where they insist on a tension-slaying violent act to relieve their discomfort. In a brilliant analysis, Horsley reveals the fantasy as a player in the clever package of science, art, and advertising he identifies as "Hollywood crock."

Embedded in this revenge fantasy is Hollywood’s social message, it is okay to kill as long as “the right people get killed.” The mechanism exploits the audience’s “fear of anarchy and social collapse” as pure justification. Who better to illustrate that than Clint Eastwood, the quiet avenger, the American hero? Horsley reminds us the revenge fantasy “mythologizes the past” and “romanticizes the present,” not to mention laying down a road map for future representations.

With brutal honesty, the book's conclusion is an intimate look at Horsley’s multilayered engagement with his family. His brother Sebastian, a drug overdose victim who brutalized him as a youngster, and his grandfather are given no-holds-barred eulogies.

In the meantime, there is much more within the three hundred plus pages: sexual violence, masturbation, action heroes, and Roman Polanski just scratch the surface. Incidentally, the author frequently refers to an earlier work of his, The Blood Poets, taking brief snippets from it to illustrate how he has evolved in his self-analysis. A reading of that book may be a good bet before tackling this one.

Nevertheless, there is a bit of magic about Seen and Unseen. The best part, undoubtedly, is Horsley's style. The book is a series of essays that pass as chapters in which he is really sitting down and discussing things with you, the reader. It’s a very personal conversation, sort of like Dante following Virgil and readying himself to meet Beatrice.
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