This essay describes the ways in which the film spectator experiences physically and psychically the cinematic
representation of falling human bodies, with particular regard to the culmination of this movement: the
impact. The latter is usually not shown on screen because of its psycho-physiological ‘violence’. Cinema employs
a series of stylistic strategies – ‘replacement’, ‘obscuration’, ‘diversion’, ‘interposition’ intended to represent
the ‘unrepresentable’. To explain how these strategies operate, I will draw upon both recent neurocognitive
experiments and classic experimental psychology demonstrations on visual occlusion and evaluate
their implications for film aesthetics. In particular, I argue that the cinematic fall is experienced empathetically.
The essay concludes with a brief analysis of a short film on 9/11 by A. G. Inarritu in order to illuminate
the bond forged between the aforementioned strategies and the symbolic dimensions of the film viewing experience.