cinephiliac moments and autism

I still haven’t finished my book. I probably should have read it by now, given I got it last week. But it is theory, and I would prefer to give it my undivided attention for long periods, and I haven’t had chance recently. However, today I would like to make a note of a strange coincidence which occurred to me recently at school. I noticed how children with quite severe autism tended to like short clips of film: they seemed to prefer moments of action rather than extended sequences. We were in class, just going through a few YouTube clips, so I might have just imagined this liking given such clips are usually short. Yet it raised a question in my head. Could it be that people with autism are drawn towards cinephiliac moments by default, albeit via some other mechanism? Of course, the two phenomena are worlds apart: the cinephiliac moment is a moment in film upon which a viewer fixates, often writing about it, describing it. Much has been written about it, and the reasons behind such fixations are incredibly complex. Yet cinephiles describe how they are drawn to moments in film, replaying them over and over again; to see these kids at school echoing the activity of cinephiles struck me as odd.

At first I just dismissed it as coincidence. Film theory and autism are worlds apart, and I was linking two unrelated things similar only on the most superficial level. But am I grasping at straws, or is there something to this? After all, these moments are often based upon contingent or peripheral detail, and we know that people with autism fixate on small minutiae others often dismiss. I know next to nothing about autism, so this might be just another of my wild, baseless ideas, but I think it could be worth looking into, if just to rule it out.

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