Zayd On Location

Zayd On Location
Zayd on Location

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

What is the benefit of Film?

There are a large amount of possible benefits to film as well as a large amount of potential harms.

Many will think it a trivial activity and a waste of time and indeed it can be that. But regardless of that reality in many cases, online video takes up much of people's online activity time. I read in an article today that 84% of online activity is video.

Clearly video can be the lazy passive option, no effort of reading and perhaps less pause for thought. Can also be over quickly, eaten quickly like fast food, rather than the more lengthier process of taking in the elements of a painting, diagram or photograph.

A film though can be cleverly constructed to speak to the mind on several levels - by colour, by impression, by suggestion, by movement, by context, by narration, by sounds, by composition, by sequence etc. Once we start to look deeply to the possibilities even within a short video we see many possible paths present themselves. It is similar to the corridors of the mind that are opened on reading a book which inspires contemplation, self analysis and discovery.

The benefits of a film depend not only on the outlook of the filmmaker but also upon the place that film is given within a particular community in addition to the outlook of the individual viewer. Perhaps a filmmaker intends something yet the viewer discovers something even more valuable.

I believe a film is likely to have greater impact and meaning not just with the quality of film made but with the comprehensive approach of the filmmaker concerning objectives and depth of symbolism and communicative imagery and sequencing. If more thought is put into all aspects of the film as language to be understood or even learned by the viewer than the more likely the viewer can have a deeper interaction with the film.

Some well known directors such as Stanley Kubrick are well known for their seemingly obsessive perfectionism on how a scene should be shot and composed so that it would not be abnormal to do dozens of takes to the frustration and fatigue of the actors and crew. This though can be understood by the one who has a very precise message to deliver or a precise atmosphere to create with a medium which possesses so many elements and possibilities and configurations.

A painting is dramatically changed by the introduction of one colour or one object, similar is the case with sketching and the introduction of one element or shade. This dramatic shift in impression is not only concerning the aesthetics but also with regards to the narrowing or expansion of possibilities of meaning.

This takes us to the issue of the viewer understanding what he is watching. If you watch a film with no knowledge at all of its subject matter, style, intent, history and background then it may be like trying to read a book without possessing the language which the book was written in. This is often not the case, a film depending on its type can reveal itself through its own introduction of context and meaning. But some films, especially silent artistic films or deeply symbolic films may be appreciated better when having some idea of the metaphorical language and processes intended. Perhaps a film that was originally considered shallow and meaningless is later discovered to be a masterpiece in its field.

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