The cinematography has become so clear and perfect – but is that the essence of cinema?
I like to go to the cinema. It has to do with seeing a story on the largest possible screen that completely envelops you. You’re not looking at your phone or (hopefully) chatting to the person next to you, just being totally fascinated by the story at hand.
Most of us would agree that the best movies that hit the big screen are the beautiful ones. The ones with cinematography and even special effects that can turn our ordinary world into something so much more.
Advances in cameras, digital effects that can change the lighting in the post, and even just tips and tricks that cameramen can easily apply, have now made most mainstream movies look beautiful.
But I have a wild thought for you …
Is all this wondrous cinematography creating an empty embellishment that kills cinema?
Check out this video from The cinema cartography and let’s talk after the jump.
Could Beauty Kill Cinema?
While I disagree with The Cinema Cartography, I think they make some of the most compelling and interesting videos in the world. I wanted to open this article with this unfiltered question about beauty killing movies because I think it’s important to ask.
When beauty is easily attainable and imposed on us, I think it becomes generic.
It is definitely true that they like ugly movies Gummo Use their specific look and styling to evoke emotion in the audience and create a world. But a film like George Washington happens mostly in the economically devastated American South and is beautiful again, which still stirs emotions about where it’s happening and what’s going on.
Cinema Cartography asks whether beauty is now so easily attainable that it has nothing more to say, and thus kills cinema.
Their point is that the real potential of cinema lies beyond the conventional. You can unlock many deeper elements in a movie when we are forced to think about the sublime rather than just seeing and wiping it out, which is what most studio and Hollywood-like films do right now.
Hollywood delivers decorative and dishonest films rather than using cinematic aesthetics to say something.
While I think many or most of the Hollywood movies look good, I’m not sure I would leave them in the beautiful category. And I don’t think the relatively good looking competition has changed my attitude towards the great films. Think about how Nomad land looked amazing, but used its hand-held and largely shadowy existence to give us a new aura of the American West.
Or like the polish of Since 5 Bloods varied with what time frame we were and with the points of view of the characters.
I don’t think these films suffered because Marvel and DC had polished pictures too.
Does the cinema kill? My biggest concern with cinema is that it will become a factory where big conglomerates like AT&T and ViacomCBS make things based on profit margins, not art. Art doesn’t die because things look better. It dies because the fine line between business and art leans very much towards business.
Sure, I’d love to see more studio films take risks with their aesthetics. It would be nice to see a Marvel movie shot on 35mm or see someone who used to work digitally like Michael Mann used to be Miami Vice and Public enemy.
The criticism is valid, but I think the “death of the cinema” is a bit of an overreaction. But that’s just me
Let me know what you think in the comments!