Saturday, September 16, 2006

Phenomonology is the science of the description of appearances, so does film accomplish this?

Matt Butcher

Film class

Phenomonology is the science of the description of appearances, so does film accomplish this? Does film describe appearances or does it appear to describe reality? Bazin’s notion of the “ontology of film images” is the REALITY of film images. I think we need to keep in mind that Bazin wrote in the 1940s and 1950s, keeping in mind that this was long before the current computer-generated era of movies. Film images are either aesthetic or psychological, “the duplication of the world outside.” Total cinema is then a myth to Bazin because what we consider today as film requires technical innovations that were not present 80 years ago or less. The same will be true in the future, as technical innovation arises to meet the needs of directors and the demands of the audiences, movie making will change. I am a fan of the superhero genre and I keep saying how we finally have the technology to do the films properly, especially if you’ve ever compared 2002’s Spider-Man to its 1970s predecessor. Early filmmakers just wanted to recreate the world by combining photograph and phonograph, the new technologies of their day, like computer geeks nowadays do something just to see if it can be done. (In computer infancy, one college hooked up to the Coke vending machine down the hall to see if it was empty before they bothered walking. Little did these computer geeks think past this to the applications this could do now for inventory systems.)

Metteur-en-scene is French for director or filmmaker but it has largely been replaced by relisateur (according to The Film Encyclopedia). Looking at the word relisateur shows the root of realize so it looks like realizer. The actor must “be before expressing himself.”

Kino-pravda tries simply to duplicate real-life as it happens, saying it is giving the ultimate truth. Unfortunately, with Kino-pravda, you are always aware of a film camera in the scene. Metteur-en-scene does better by duplicating life and then filming, forgetting the presence of the camera.

I believe that Kino-pravda can never be true because of the known presence of the camera. It’s like taking home videos and telling your mother to “say something.” There was an experiment once where researchers were studying the effects of light on the productivity of workers. The workers were told that they were being tested, once with extra light, once with no light. The workers worked extremely hard in both circumstances and the researchers realized that telling the workers made them work harder, no matter what circumstances were involved, simply that they were being watched. Kino-pravda is like that.

The Wizard of Oz could never be filmed with a camera this way. It would take away the adventure and the fantasy. I think Kino-pravda still does exist though—as reality TV.

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