Film As Art: Creativity,Technology, and Business

Sunday, September 1, 2013
Motion pictures are so much a part of our lives that it's hard to imagine a world without them. We enjoy them in theaters, at home, in offices, in cars and buses, and on airplanes. We carry films with us in our laptops and iPods.
We press the button, and our machines conjures up movies for our pleasure. For about a hundred years, people have been trying to understand why this medium has so captivated us. Films communicate information and ideas, and they show us places and ways of life we might not otherwise know. Important as these benefits are, though, something more is at stake.
Films offer us ways of seeing and
feeling that we find deeply gratifying. They take us through
experiences. The experiences are often driven by stories, with characters we come to care about, but films might also develop an idea or explore visual qualities or sound textures. A film takes us on a journey, offering a patterned experience that engages our minds
and emotions.
It's a powerful scene, and it depends on many artistic decisions about how to affect the audience. The screenplay provides vivid dialogue and strong conflicts. The scene constitutes a step in the process of confirming Little Charlie's suspicions that her uncle is a murderer. Since we in the audience have the same suspicions, the
scene nudges us closer to the same conclusion. The scene suggests that he's slightly mad; his killing proceeds not only from a larcenous bent but also from a deepseated hatred of women.
The scene increases our understanding of his personality. Our response has an emotional dimension, too, since in his description of the women, he dehumanizes them to chilling effect.To appreciate the artistic possibilities of film, then, we need to take into account the film's organization of its story, the ways the parts fit together to create particular effects. Just as important, we need to consider how moviemakers employ
the medium of film.
those techniques that present the story to us. In a novel, the author's use of language conveys the progression of the plot and the development of the characters. A composer draws on the resources of melody and rhythm to create a song. Similarly the film medium provides the filmmaker with several ways to convey moment-by-moment formal developments.
The popular origins of cinema suggest that some common ways of talking won’t help us much in understanding film. Take the distinction between art and entertainment. Some people would say that blockbusters playing at the multiplex are merely “entertainment,” while films for a narrower publicâ€"perhaps independent
films, or festival fare, or specialized experimental worksâ€"are true art. Usually the art/entertainment split carries a not-so-hidden value judgment:
Art is high-brow whereas entertainment is superficial. Yet things aren’t that simple. As we just indicated, many of the artistic resources of cinema were discovered by filmmakers
working for the general public. During the 1910s and 1920s, for instance,


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