Friday, December 19, 2014

Culture and Technology in Film Today

As people and culture change, films change. And as the different facets of film change, such as how people conduct themselves, and what subjects films are presenting change, people in society conduct themselves differently. Film has so much power to influence people, and vice versa. Culture and film lean on each other. A really good, current example is the current controversy surrounding the production of the film The Interview. In the film, the two main characters are hired by the FBI to kill Kim Jong-un, who is the current dictator of North Korea both in real life and in the film. North Korea in response hacked Sony and called the movie "an act of war". All of the major movie theater companies are now refusing to show the film when it is released. This just goes to show how much impact one film can have on a worldwide scale.

Technology continues to evolve at an increasingly rapid rate. As a filmmaker, it is impossible not to get swept up in the advancement, to become enthralled by "the next big thing". I think that it is important, as filmmakers, that we learn to step away from the hype and focus on what we are really trying to do, which is tell stories and affect people in some way.

I think it's impossible to determine who the audiences of the future will be. But I think that one thing that is for certain is that with the spread of technology, the audiences will be bigger than ever before. The things that we create will have the power to reach into the farthest corners of the world.

The industry of the future will gravitate more towards independent films, I think. This is already beginning to happen. People will always enjoy big-budget films, but I think that there will be and already is a greater respect and audience for films speaking from the heart.

The film we watched was very interesting to me. I think that he's definitely an artist. It's interesting to think that nothing we create really belongs to us once we release it. But I agree with the idea that for as long as we've been on this planet, we've been building on each other's knowledge and expanding it. I think the same is true for art, and on a more detailed scale cinema. We shouldn't be afraid to copy or mimic others in order to help us create something original. It's ingrained in each of us.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Hollywood, The Code, and Cultural Identity

     The decrease in people who watched movies during the mid 20th century was blamed on the increase of television American households, but in reality many different factors contributed to the lack of movie-goers during this era. One of these was the radio. Another was the massive transition to suburban life. The Baby Boom kept many families at home, caring for their large families. Studies showed that people who earned higher incomes were more likely to go to the movies, but during this era well-off and educated Americans were having more children than any other portion of the population. Also, since people were now living in suburban communities far away from the hustle and bustle of downtown, movie theaters were no longer in walking distance. And since most now owned cars, parking was limited in crowded areas.
     As a result of sudden decline in audience, many people in the film industry were now jobless. The number of films produced decreased rapidly. In response, filmmakers began making films that catered to an audience that was well-educated in terms of cinema. Cinematic techniques were perfected. Movies now had complex stories and subjects.
     As filmmakers tried to come up with a new form of filmmaking that would appeal to those who wanted to see something real and complex, this was definitely a reflection of the cultural identity of that era. People who were considered filmmakers gravitated from artists whose only experience came from hands-on experience to artists who graduated from colleges where they studied different aspects of filmmaking and earned degrees. The Code limited the filmmaker's ability to say something and turned cinema into purely entertainment. But as people lost interest in simply being entertained by film, filmmaking shifted from being a form of entertainment to trying to say something. Even if it was entertaining, it still meant something. This idea still exists today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

French Impressionism and The Starfish

For my Silent Film Research and Creative Piece, I studied the short film L'etoile de mer by Man Ray.  Then, I researched French Impressionism and created a short film to display the different qualities associated with that movement. Impressionism flourished in Western Europe during the 1910s to 1920s, but it originated in France after World War I. French filmmakers struggled to restart film production after the war. American film became popular in France, and in order to compete, the French filmmakers had to become innovative and create a unique style.  The biggest quality of Impressionism, especially prominent in the films of that era, was the goal to make the audience feel and empathize with what the characters are feeling. This idea affected continues to be prominent in filmmaking today.

Man Ray was a prominent Surrealist photographer who moved to France from America in and began making film during the era of French Impressionism. His short film, L'etoile de mer (The Starfish) is an experimental film about a woman, a man, and a starfish, which explores the subjectivity which is so prominent in the films of that era.

(Password is filmhist)

On an additional note, L'Etoile de mer was originally a silent film, but recently music has been added by Mistinguett from Man Ray's personal record collection. I chose to use Mistinguett's music for the film I created in order to match the style.