Is cinema the most important of the arts?
Cinema has been a tool for people to experience emotions and connect with one another for nearly a hundred years. But it’s not just a cultural phenomenon, it’s a social one too. Through cinema, a diverse group of people can become a united audience, experiencing history and empathy together. Although it may not be the most important of the arts, cinema still holds a special place in our hearts as it allows us to have compassion and connect with the characters on screen.
Unfortunately, some of the most influential film genres, such as drama, have migrated to television and other technological platforms. The dominant genre in cinema today is adrenaline-fueled attractions, but this doesn’t hold the same sense of community and collective viewing that cinema once had. For example, in USSR the last time films had a major impact on public sentiment was during the era of perestroika, and the propaganda role that cinema once had has since been taken over by television. However, public trust in the media has diminished in recent years, making it difficult for modern genre films to have the same impact.
On the other hand, sport is becoming a way of communicating with billions of people and is becoming a competitor to what we call cinema. It’s not just about attracting viewers, but about sparking discussions and forcing people to think. The famous incident with Zidane and Materazzi was watched by 2.5 billion people, while the Pope’s Christmas sermon was only watched by 500 million. Sport has become a way of telling stories and delivering messages, much like art.
Art is meant to affirm axioms and translate polemical situations into axiomatic ones. It’s a way of communicating ideas and bringing people together. In this sense, cinema, sport, and other forms of art all play a crucial role in our lives, connecting us with one another and giving us a way to understand and appreciate the world around us.
The feeling of space and time in modern motion pictures
When you hear about movies, what do you imagine? Maybe a beautiful picture or a well-told story, maybe you are thinking about dynamics or, conversely, a smooth story? In any case, the movie conveys the thoughts of the authors. In fact, pictures can evoke different emotions in our minds that we don’t even control. Every time you turn on a movie or go to the cinema, anticipation burns inside you. We begin to carefully absorb every detail, the actors’ performance, landscapes. But what happens when, in our usual manner, changes begin, when the entire tape is limited to one location and nothing else? Why does the director take such a step, what does he want to say? This is what I propose to talk about, having analyzed several pictures that will help to more accurately reveal the essence.
Features of modern cinema
Everyone has their own ideas about what a movie should be. When we talk about the classic version, we mean a smooth change of frames, locations and a large number of medium-sized plans. The emphasis on people’s faces is not so much done, since all the elements of the film are important: from the landscape to the characters. For this type of films, good stories of a romantic, comedic format are characteristic. These elements only emphasize the simplicity and at the same time the completeness of the story. Serious films are also shot in this format, but the fact is that modern cinema trends speak of experiments with space.
Today’s phenomenon of cinema lies in the “intimacy” of the space where the action takes place. Recently, often paintings that claim to be “acutely social” make the landscape limited. For example, the movie “Mom!”, “Dogville” or “Platform” are vivid confirmations of this. In such paintings, the emphasis is on the characters and the place in which they are located. But let’s highlight the main points that are used in these films:
Close—up – it often accompanies films with limited space. Since the viewer sees a limited space, his emphasis quickly shifts to the character himself, which is why the director himself shows the face in close-up, thereby helping to see all the subtleties of emotions. This is very well demonstrated in the movie “Mom!”.
Symbolism of a place – When a director takes on the limitations of space, this place often becomes symbolic. In the same “Dogville” you can talk a lot about the ambiguity of the place in which the action takes place, but we’ll talk about this later, since this is a very important moment in such films.
The absence or scant availability of time – in films of this kind, time rarely plays a role, rather it is divided into important intervals that give answers or fuel interest. Of course, there is a conditional designation of time, but this does not play a big role in the works.
So, now we see exactly what factors influence the creation of a modern painting and the immersion of the viewer in it. But it’s worth noting that this is just the backbone, which cannot exist without a plot. And when I give you an example of the films of Darren Aronofsky or Lars von Trier, the expert immediately understands that the idea is at the center of everything. When a director tries to focus the viewer’s attention on some problem, he may come to the conclusion that all visual effects are unnecessary, which will only distract a person. It is about the visual style that I propose to talk to us now.
Analysis of examples
We don’t often have to deal with space-limited films. They cause a violent reaction and often divide the audience in half. The fact is that when the director decides to remove the colors from the picture, he has to work very hard with the place that he chose as the main one. Because of this, references or some kind of symbolism begin to get into the location, which can tell about half of what is embedded in the film. Because of such risks, people begin to treat the picture ambiguously, because we are used to the classic narrative and the changeability of frames, when the landscape does not play a symbolic role in the cinema, but only becomes a tenderness for the eyes, emphasizing the merits of the film and the budget. There is a lot to say about how in an ordinary picture the setting of the frame is decisive, this is, of course, true, but this does not mean that such tools are naturally correct and the only ones that can guide us in chronology, the experience of the characters or the feeling of the atmosphere.
For example, the director of the movie “Mom!” uses a close-up very well, focusing on the facial expressions of people. When the main character already looks at us with her eyes in the first frame, it is clear that the whole film will be built on her emotions. And just with the help of one character, the whole intensity of passions that took place in the film is transmitted. The space at such moments remained behind the heroine. At the same time, the camera behind the girl was also used in this movie, thereby transmitting the space around her.
But in Dogville, the close-up was not used so often, rather, there is more medium or long-range, I’m talking about it, since the space itself also sets the dynamics and the type of frame. If in “Mom!” everything was limited to the house, which was also a continuation of the heroine herself, then in the Lars von Trier film everything was built differently. There were no walls in the location, and although the conversation between the characters could be of a personal nature, due to the lack of boundaries, everything became huge or rather open. Therefore, the frame plan in such films is difficult to characterize. Speaking generally, the main angle is always directed at the heroes of the story, because it is they who create the landscape around them, and not him, as often happens in films. In such stories, we can see the closeness of such films to books, since there, too, the dialogues and actions of the characters play a rather important role. In general, in the classical picture, the world is always bigger than the person himself, but in films like “Platform” or “Mom!” it is always the hero who is bigger than the world in which he is.
The role of space in modern motion pictures
Do we often attach importance in films to the place in which the action of the film takes place? If we are talking about an adventure genre or a melodrama, then the world around us often changes, frames run after each other, and everything around the character can mostly cause an aesthetic feeling. But when the director is limited only to a certain space, it often becomes a continuation of the character himself, his feelings, desires, internal conflict, and so on.
Let’s analyze the examples:
In the film “Platform”, the character stops on the middle floor, as if showing us that he has not decided now who he wants to become and what to do, then he got to the lower floors, and only on the upper floors he decided that he had to change the rules of the world, that is, one person takes the right to change what surrounds him, the very foundation, and not some parts of it.
In the picture “Mom!” the house, as the main location, has become one big allegory for the planet Earth. This location is full of life, and it reflects the condition of the girl who lives there. Biblical events also take place there, but in a miniature version. It is worth noting that the house itself has a very warm atmosphere and gradually it begins to fade, as well as the life and patience of the heroine herself, completely burning in the fire.
In the movie “Dogville”, the action takes place in the town of the same name, which consists only of drawn lines, there are no walls, there are even no doors, and there are mainly black tones in the color scheme. All this conveys the coldness of the city, transparency, because all residents know everything about each other, but a stranger will not be allowed in. All the blackness of people is revealed gradually, although the space itself has already told us about it, but it is impossible to understand it at once.
Each location has its own symbol, and it gives us to understand the meaning of the film, without understanding the meaning of the house in “Mom!” or the floor system in “Platform”, as well as the transparency of the walls in “Dogville”, you do not realize the whole essence of those films that you watched. The director does not just choose one place, he does it for maximum impact when the landscape itself plays the role of the same character.
If we sum up the big picture, then, of course, working with locations is a key factor in films. Sometimes we don’t notice how much the environment and landscapes affect us, but they say a lot. And when we take films with deep introspection, the authors often create a chamber, thereby leaving the characters with themselves and the viewer, who himself must draw conclusions about what he saw.