I slip silently into houses; I am present at events that cannot be seen. I sit by the bed upon which lovers make their love; I walk into a room where a man has taken refuge to hide his grief-stricken face. Then I have another privilege, that of gathering separate elements into one single spectacle. Here is a crowd, a crowd in which each individual is lost in the mass; yet my eyes embrace the whole. I pass through walls, I hover in the sky; I am endowed with supernatural powers.
—Simone de Beauvoir (on the effects of the cinema), from All Said and Done. New York: Penguin Books, 1972. Translated by Patrick O’Brian.