Why Does Cinema Matter? An Introductio…


It gives us a space to escape to in even the d


Why does Cinema Matter? An introduction…

Cinema is the marriage of technological advance with artistic endeavour.  In the evolution of cinema since the late 1880’s scientific innovation has been a constant, from the introduction of sound by the Warner Brothers, to technicolour, cinemascope and Dolby surround sound. Technological advance has challenged the creativity of the writers, directors and actors to adapt and improve upon what went before. Within today’s technological landscape cinema again faces new challenges; the key difference however is that in the past technological changes primarily affected how film itself was made, today’s technological advances affect how film is experienced.  This in turn impacts the type of work being produced, and challenges the position of cinema itself.

The arrival of the internet’s film and programme sharing platform services has become a game changer in the film industry. It is often alluded to that we are now in “the golden era of television”. As discussed in our first lecture with Lord Puttnam there are benefits and disadvantages to the dominance of small screen production. Demand for better quality offerings, means there is more work to go around for those seeking to enter the industry. On the other hand clearly there are less films being made. Franchises and films with brand potential, have been pushed to the fore in terms of production.  Just as the record and the CD gave way to the mp3 players and internet streaming.  Is it not time for cinema to give way to adapt and to give way  to its own evolving technological landcape?  Or does this change go to the heart of why cinema matters?

With the advent of internet based content sharing platforms  we now “consume” film rather than “experience” it. We “binge” watch the latest trending series on Netflix.  Given the amount of time we spend watching these programmes, we form fast attachment to the Frank Underwoods of this world. But more often than not what we find in these productions is over-developed characters and underdeveloped plots. We continue their journey with them only to find by the end the story has become farcical.    Our attachment to the character ends as we move onto the next show and the overall significance of the work on the viewer? Lost…

Yet a person’s relationship with film can last a lifetime.  Seeing a great film in your youth leave such an imprint that it not only changes your outlook on life.  You may in fact re-watch it dozens of times and yet never tire of it.

Why is the cinema important?  If a story is worth being told, it should be given the opportunity of impacting the viewer in a more enduring way;  to truely experience of cinema and not merely consume it.


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