Cinema is a form of art that consists of different styles and to know the history behind how we came from a simple picture to moving people on a screen is essential. I have never known much about what goes on behind a movie, other than being entertained. However, after taking a history of art class this semester it allowed me to appreciate cinema as more of an art form and as well as to know how it is made.
We have cinema today only from evolving through over a century of working with pictures.Early cinema was developed from just the photo. Pictures were used to develop a visual image and they were late utilized in showing movements through have lots of different pictures. For example, around 1878 Eadward Muybridge was a photographer who made a bet with his friends to see if when a horse gallops does all of its feet leave the ground. So he used many different cameras and took many photos of a horse galloping, through this bet he managed to see movement in the pictures and realized they do not touch the ground. This was one of the starting points to early cinema, simply through putting photos together. Eventually this method led to animation. However, early cinema was being evolved through these simple methods.Eventually leading to the first film shot in the U.S. was created by Thomas Alva Edison in 1889 called “Monkeyshines”. It was a very blurry short film, but a person can see movement and even the blurry actor. It was a ground breaking time in early cinema and led to more films being developed.
As more films were being developed in the late 1800’s early 1900’s, they began to have a style.Every film needed to have Mise-en-scene, which is a french phrase basically meaning what is put in the image. Which consists of lighting, actors, sets, costumes, and props. Films also had cinematography and the shot became the basic unit of cinematography. The shots consists of frame, depth, movement, angle,space, and distance. The last thing that films consisted of was some sort of editing, either post-production editing with voice over or color or just editing shots together. These three things became essential components of a film which we still see today.
Films also became to be appreciated as an art form. As films produced throughout the early 1900’s and mid 1900’s each film had a specific style. Then films would be represented as a realism type film or modernist film. Realism films were seen as as films that depicted reality, how things are in the real world. A famous classic movie that was categorized was a realistic film was made in the 1950s named “Citizen Kane” which is still a popular movie today. Then we have modernist films which consisted of german expressionism, surrealism, soviet constructivism, dada, and many other styles. These films were more unrealistic and the opposite of realism based films, and a famous german expressionist film was made in the 1920’s, ” The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. This was a film created in early cinema, although it has no sound the plot, mise-en-scene, and cinematography of the film are what makes it great. Then more styles were produced mid to late 1900’s like neorealism. Neorealism is more based on average people lives and were realistic depictions of everyday life of middle class or poor people. All these style emerged which allowed films to be considered as an art.
Cinema has become a prevalent art today, and it has a rich history behind it. From how it started from a simple photo to now CGI, it is amazing how far films have come in the last century. It is interesting to know how cinema has evolved, and how it become a medium of information to a new technology. It has many dimensions to it such as art, and is a great subject to analyze.
Mast, Gerald, and Bruce F. Kawin. A Short History of the Movies. New York: Pearson/Longman, 2008. Print.