Posted by mark on 30/09/2010 in design for simulation, kcDigitalArts, nick, year 3 · 7 Comments
How adequateley would we understand the world if we saw it only through cinema? 300 words.
before next weeks session as comments below please
The short of it is, not adequately at all.
Cinema, if we’re talking about Hollywood which I’m going to assume we are, is very good at one thing, and one thing only. That is, it’s good at fuck off big explosions, mostly uninteresting characters and not one moment of banality.
To expand on these things, the problem with modern cinema is that there’s too much going on. Life is mundane. You get up, have a shower, have a shit, etc. Then you take an hour to get to work, sitting about on public transport, in traffic jams. Stare at a screen for eight hours, sit in traffic for another hour. Go home, eat, watch tv, masturbate, go to sleep. Repeat ad infinitum. Except for a few exceptions, cinema just doesn’t show these things, and for good reason, banality isn’t entertaining. The problem then, is that someone who’s take on the world came from cinema is that they’d expect something to always be happening. They’d expect constant drama, they’d expect crazy things to happen all the damned time, but the world doesn’t work like that.
Another problem would be that people would just simply be ill equipped to understand each other. Characters in cinema tend towards the two dimensional, often being flat and uninteresting, with miraculous mind reading abilities that let them understand each other perfectly. This is in quite an extreme contrast to the reality of the world, where people tend towards the complicated, and people don’t have the cognitive genius to read the minds and interpret exactly what others mean.
There are other issues, namely characterisation that stems from geography. Americans would, of course, be the heroic geniuses, Europeans their bitches (essentially), Muslims and Arabs terrorists, Russians commies, etc.
It’s not a world I’d like to live in.
It’s difficult to come to one conclusion on this matter, everybody’s interpretation of films are different. There are also many different genres of movies available at the cinema: comedy, romance, children/family, horror and action to name a few. Within each genre, there are a significantly different set of morales, particularly within the children/family genre as the stories are written in such a way to educate the public to follow a set of boundaries and morale standings as to what we should and shouldn’t do. In other cases, if we were to perceive life through this particular genre, we would more than likely be living in a dream world where everything is perfect. The same goes with the comedy genre.
However, genres like action or particularly horror have different morale understanding. If we were to base the world we live in on these genres, there would be a pile-up on almost every street, people would be murdered every left right and centre… and almost everybody would be living in fear. We enjoy these types of movies not because they depict the world we live in, but because they are often so farfetched that the storyline is often so unbelievable, yet shocking to watch. It’s the adrenaline we feel while watching these scenes that gives us the excitement, but we know we can walk away from it knowing it’s just a movie.
If I was to understand the world just from watching the film “2012″, I’d be packing my bags ready for the end of the world. Or perhaps there really is a platform 9 3/4, and there really are wizards and witches. Better yet, and I’m sure most of you guys would agree… how awesome it would be if there really were lesbian vampires or zombie strippers…
Cinema brings a lot of benefits to our daily life, it brings entertainment and some would argue it’s also educational. Cinema is a great tools for directors to simulate events, that would consider to be impossible or rarely ever been seen by the viewers.
In that sense it’s educational, it teaches us about reality, the kind of events that is taking place, or could be while they are viewing this in a safe environment. But they could only show us, so much that they need to add their own cheery on a cake. Facts and fictions clash seamlessly that occasionally it make events seems believable, and since the viewer has no real knowledge about that fact, they would willingly accept what it is.
Cinema has been used to simulate the “What if……?” scenario. It’s not directly been use in such a way, but a tool to prepare us on what to expect. Things like global warming, what if London is 200 meters deep under the ocean? What would it look like? How would anyone able to survive? But some movies push the boundary of what is real and what is not. To the point that the same element is expected to be implemented in every scenario e.g. car explode on impact, bullet causes barrel to explode. No doubt it is cooler to watch, but some fictional events are becoming more and closer to being a fact.
If I only had movies to understand the world that we lived in then I would want to get out of the matrix. We use films as a kind of escapism or to show our fantasise and dreams. If we only had those to go on we would probably make films about what we have now to escape. If we only have films to go on we would be at war with everyone and think it’s a good idea as well as we would only have one side to the story usually the Americans and feel sorry for them as well. I write this as I whach the opening of the commonwealth games. The little film they showed was of all the beautiful places of India the colours and wonderful people they have in the country. But they wont show all the poverty in the country and the children living in slums and the child labour which is renowned in India not saying it isn’t beautiful because it is but there’s always more than one side to every story or film. If I had only movies to go by I would probably believe gangsters are good police are bad. Americans are right we are wrong to disagree with them. You can get out of any situation with just a karate chop to the neck, throw a man across the room with ease and believe the end of the world is just around the corner
First of all what is cinema’s purpose. Cinema is just an illusion that aims to attract people with its dynamic and interesting story line that differs from actual life. The purpose of the movies is to show us the point of view that one person have in case the writer, director etc. It doesn’t necessarily balance between the negative and positive in certain situation. As a whole television is a good way of manipulating the viewers.
Imagine if our perception of the world was created only by movies such as Ocean’s 11, The Texas Chain Saw Massacre etc. everyone would drive fast cars, robe banks, kill people, and break the low established by the authorities in order to imitate every single action that is going on the screen. In some movies as in Ocean’s trilogy the whole story is flipped in a way that actually makes us sympathise the robbers and hope they never get caught. This is collision between what is right and what is not. So in my opinion if we relied only on cinema to understand the world we would have ended up living in a chaos.
On the other hand we have the documentaries. From educational movies we can learn a lot but they don’t motivate us of doing actions. They are more straight forward full of information. Even thought they are useful we wouldn’t be able to understand the world in its truthful meaning.
However let’s not forget children’s movies or even animations. We wouldn’t get the right perception of the world but one can draw a lesson from them as they pay more attention to the set of morals that everyone should follow.
To conclude I don’t think we could understand the world adequately through cinema, all in all is always better to learn about the world through our experience, and films are there just to entertain us for some time. We shouldn’t get obsessed by the movies and forget to live.
How adequately would we understand the world if we saw it only through cinema?
Cinematic movies are the perfect medium for presenting the world, but do they fully represent the subjects and issues that affect us?
If we relied wholly upon Cinema for our understanding of our environment it would be a confusing and contradictory world.
Although it could be said that Hollywood has perfected the art of stereotyping, the stereotypes offered are often misleading and out of date.
If we were to lead our lives by these stereotypes, I would always be fearful and weary of anyone who; speaks with an accent, dresses differently or worships a different god. And on the opposite side I would warmly welcome Americans and other English speaking nations whom have familiar religions and an associable look.
This kind of misrepresentation is not exclusive to western cinema. Nollywood films (Nigerian cinema) are often based on religious themes where Christian productions will portray Muslims in an un-favorable light, and vis-versa with the Islamic production films. The ‘evil’ characters in these films are commonly ugly, misshapen beings, akin to F.W.Murnau’s portrayal of Jews in Nosferatu whose intentions are to corrupt and taint the lives of the ‘good’ characters they come in contact with. This is a crude and victimizing characterization of an opposing social group of people in order to retain fractions and propagate hate.
Cinema stereotypes and clichés can become even more confusing when you take films that are in some form or another based upon a true story. Unlike a literary account of a real event, the cinematic world has the habit of exaggerating certain aspects of the film for entertainment purposes. This can lead to the glamorization of taboo subjects, effectively removing the immoral connotations that surround them.
For example in the American mobster films of the 1980’s like ‘Scarface’ the viewer is shown a harsh and violent world, yet the main characters are rewarded with beautiful woman, huge quantities of cash, copious amounts of drugs and generally a better standard of living then the average citizen of the time. This is just a drop in the mixed up ocean of moral messages that cinema presents to its viewers.
From just these few examples, I believe that if anyone was to take the messages of cinema as canon, the world might be in an even greater dire state then it is in now, or perhaps it could solve all the issues that are present in today’s society.
The world is ever changing and within days of a film being finished, the issues covered may have drastically altered, due to this I doubt that an adequate view of our world could ever be gained from the world of cinema.
We would not very adequately understand the world if we saw it only through cinema, as we will be seeing less of it. This is because we would only see it as it is represented to us, and from a particular point of view. We would all be in Plato’s Cave as prisoners, where the shadows are shadows of models rather than real objects. What we visualise through cinema would be the ‘illusions’ of the world which we would take for reality.
All the material from cinema is from a particular point of view – the editor, director or writer – and we would all be sheep in accepting everything as it is represented – to be reality and the truth. We would not question or be critics of anything, as we will not have our own views – everything is fed to us. We would be very narrow minded in our opinions and judgements about people, groups and locations. We would all have one shared view and judgement about them.
For instance if we only saw the world through cinema, we would all know Afghanistan to be nothing but a desert war zone – and we know thats not the case. The frightening aspect of it after a quick google images search of the country, the images suggest that Afghanistan is nothing but a desert war zone.
Cinema itself is commercial, and has a job to entertain. Hence, it is not obligated to portray the reality and the world adequately. Cinema is generally seen to be a source of escapism and in fact people would often watch something for this escapism from reality, from the real world and from the truth. Therefore, we would not understood the world through cinema adequately at all, as we would be far from reality itself, far from the truth and we would be missing out on a lot of the world.
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