Interactive movies

Under the supervision of Bernard Perron

This research project focused on the phenomenon of interactive cinema, specifically on works that integrate live action sequences and interactive possibilities. From the outset, it is interesting to underline that what we consider as the «first» interactive film, Raduz Cincera’s One Man and His World, was presented here in Canada during Montreal’s Expo 67. However, this geographic proximity is far from being the most interesting aspect of the phenomenon. Interactive cinema experiences, at least in the popular entertainment domain, are increasingly rare and the genre has undergone an undeniable decline. Nevertheless, at the turn of the 1990s, the enthusiasm around these experiences seemed to announce the coming of a new genre with a bright future ahead. The project emerged out of this first historical observation; what could have triggered this decline?

The project has allowed us to better understand what distinguishes interactive cinema and to see how it has (dis)integrated within the broader mediatic fields. Thanks to documentation, it has contributed to preserving the memory of a large body of works that were assimilated (more or less) to “interactive movies”. Our investigations led to a distinction between three types of manifestations: the interactive movie itself, the movie-game (associated more specifically to video games), and media arts, a practice that is as rich as it is diffuse. In so doing, over 421 works connected to interactive cinema were listed and indexed between 2004 and 2008. This research program has led to the analysis of a great number of works that sure seem “dated”, but still reflecting on the contemporary audiovisual interactive culture (immersion, interactivity, narration, attraction) in an exemplary manner.

Grant Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada (SHRC): "A History and Theory of Early Interactive Movies" (2004-2008)

Research Assistants


- Database: Filmography of early interactive cinema

PublicationsTop of the page

Book chapters and articles
The Archives: Post-Cinema and Video Game Between Memory and the Image of the Present

Perron, Bernard, and Simon Dor. 2014. “Addressing the Preservation of Gameplaying: Archiving Actional Modalities (Execution, Resolution, and Strategy)”. In Bernard Perron and Federico Giordano (eds.), The Archives: Post-Cinema and Video Game Between Memory and the Image of the Present, p. 177-200. Milan : Mimesis International.

Cinéma,interactivité et société

Perron, Bernard. 2013. “La sempiternelle attraction du cinéma interactif”. In Jean-Marie Dallet (ed.), Cinéma, interactivité et société, p. 61-81. Montrouge and Québec : Éditions Burozoïque and Presses de l’Université du Québec.

Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming

Perron, Bernard. 2012. “Interactive Movies”. In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.), Encyclopedia of Video Games: The Culture, Technology, and Art of Gaming, p. 322-324. Westport : Greenwood Press.

Play the Movie

Perron, Bernard. 2010. “DVD et cinéma interactif”. In Leonardo Quaresima and Valentina Re (eds.), Play the Movie, Il DVD e le nuovo forme dell’esperienza audiovisia, p. 133-149. Turin : Kaplan.


Perron, Bernard. 2010. “Videoplay”. Amusement, n° 7 (January-March), p. 198-199.

Cinema e Fumetto/Cinema and Comics

Perron, Bernard. 2009. “Entre bande dessinée, cinéma et fiction interactive : l’écran divisé du BDVD”. In Leonardo Quaresima, Laura Ester Sangalli and Federico Zecca (eds.), Cinema e Fumetto/Cinema and Comics, p. 609-626. Udine : Forum. [PDF]

New Review of Film and Television Studies

Perron, Bernard, Dominic Arsenault, Martin Picard, and Carl Therrien. 2008. “Methodological Questions in Interactive Film Studies”. New Review of Film and Television Studies, vol. 6, n° 3 (December), p. 233-252.

Learn more

This article focuses on the phenomenon of interactive movies. As a genre that has almost totally vanished, defined mostly by the abundant use of filmed video sequences (called Full-Motion Video or FMV) on which the player/gamer can intervene, the interactive cinema has left an impressive corpus seemingly forgotten. In this research, we call attention to the significant historical heritage of this collection which we call early interactive cinema. Beside its cinematographic appeal (which had obviously led to its name, and probably also to its demise), our interest lies on its ergodic dimension, mainly what we are calling figures of interactivity and actional modalities.

The Video Game Explosion

Perron, Bernard. 2008. “Genre Profile: Interactive Movies”. In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.), The Video Game Explosion: A History from Pong to PlayStation and Beyond, p. 127-133. Westport : Greenwood Press. [pre-publication PDF]

The Video Game Explosion

Therrien, Carl. 2008. “CD-ROM Games”. In Mark J.P. Wolf (ed.), The Video Game Explosion: A History from Pong to PlayStation and Beyond, p. 121-125. Westport : Greenwood Press. [pre-publication PDF]

Intermédialités, Jouer

Perron, Bernard. 2007. “T'es où [Luc Courchesne]?”. Intermédialités, Jouer, n° 9 (spring), p. 156-175.

Film Style

Perron, Bernard, and Carl Therrien. 2007. “>>Pointez-et-cliquez ici<< Les figures d'interactivité dans le cinéma interactif des premiers temps”. In Enrico Biasin, Giulio Bursi and Leonardo Quaresima (eds.), Film Style, p. 395-403. Udine : Forum. [PDF]

The Five Senses of Cinema

Perron, Bernard. 2005. “Le cinéma interactif à portée de main”. In Alice Autelitano, Veronica Innoncenti and Valentia Re (eds.), The Five Senses of Cinema, p. 447-457. Udine : Forum. [PDF]

Learn more

This article analyzes the ins and outs of the various interfaces that allow the viewer to interact with a film, interfaces that make use of the viewer’s sense of touch. It examines how (interactive) movies has granted and grant control, either through the buttons installed on an armchair; with a light gun, a keyboard and a mouse, a touch screen, a DVD remote, or the joysticks of the PlayStation’s DualShock controller. In short, this article studies the repositioning of the viewer entailed by this "freedom" of movement.

The second meaning of the title of this article considers the hypothesis advanced by the advocates of recent media telling that video games would be the interactive cinema of tomorrow. If this is the case, and as we have learned by studying early cinema, we must strive for a historical distance and consider early interactive cinema for what it is, a practice that would result in another.

Other relevant publicationsTop of the page
The Oxford Handbook of Soundand Image in Digital Media

Aldred, Jessica. 2013. “‘I Am Beowulf! Now, It's Your Turn’: Playing With (and as) the Digital Character in the Transmedia Franchise”. In Amy Herzog, John Richardson, and Carol Vernallis (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media, p. 381-396. New York : Oxford University Press.

The Video Game Theory Reader

Perron, Bernard. 2003. “From Gamers to Players and Gameplayers: the Example of Interactive Movies”. In Mark J.P. Wolf and Bernard Perron (eds.), The Video Game Theory Reader, p. 237-258. New York : Routledge. [PDF]

Hypertextes. Espaces virtuels de lecture et d'écriture

Perron, Bernard. 2002. “Jouabilité, bipolarité et cinéma interactif”. In Denis Bachand and Christian Vandendorpe (eds.), Hypertextes. Espaces virtuels de lecture et d'écriture, p. 285-311. Québec : Nota Bene. [PDF]

EventsTop of the page

An Afternoon in the Heavy Rain
Joint Ludiciné/GameCODE 2010 Symposium.

Selected conference papersTop of the page

Recommended linksTop of the page

Aftermath Media
Concepteur des films interactifs Tender Loving Care (1999) et POV (2001).

Beyond Interactive Cinema
Article de Birk Weiberg qui rend compte de quelques expériences de cinéma interactif (2002).

Cause and Effect
Site du projet Cause and Effect, hybride performance théâtrale / cinéma interactif.

Future Cinema
Exposition de dispositifs cinématographiques, vidéographiques et d'installations informatiques qui annoncent le cinéma de demain, tenue de novembre 2002 à mars 2003.

Hyperbole Studios
Concepteurs de films-jeux, notamment Quantum Gate (1993) et The X-Files Game (1998).

Centre de recherche sur le cinéma interactif de l'University of New South Wales.

Interactive Cinema Group
Groupe de recherche sur le cinéma interactif du MIT sous la direction de Gloria Davenport.

Projet de reconstitution sur dvd du cinéma interactif KinoAutomat (1967), dirigé par Chris Hales.

Office Voodoo
Site du film interactif Office Voodoo de Michale Lew (2002), "an algorithmic film with real-time editing engine".

Site du film interactif sur DVD Switching de Morten Schjodt (2003).

Outil de création développé par Hyperbole, utilisé notamment pour The X-Files Game (1998).

Film interactif en ligne (également disponible sur cédérom) développé par David Blair (1991).

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