The Progression of Film Essay

The biggest problem humans have been having since the dawn of time is, ‘how do we entertain ourselves? ‘. One would assume it began with fire, something that aroused the eyes and entertained the mind. Though fire may have been the beginning, centuries upon centuries later a much more highly intelligent form of entertainment revolutionized the world, motion pictures. In the dog eat dog world of entertainment Film reigns alpha dog. Film has some of the biggest influence on the world around us. It shapes our adolescence, teaching foreign things to the young developing mind.

Cinema has spurred riots, love, and murder. So the question is, whats are these powerful pieces of art? “I am going to make a name for myself. If I fail, you will never hear from me again. ” (Edward James Muggeridge). The first traceable form of anything relating to motion pictures was the “Magic Lantern” invented in the 17th Century by Athansius Kircher in Rome, Italy. The device had a lens that projected pictures from transparencies onto a screen, with a mere candle. This was the first step towards the revolution that would progress to a more advanced device in centuries to come.

In 1831 the law of electromagnetic induction was discovered by an English scientist Michael Faraday, a major part used in generating elcectricity and powering simple motors and machines, including film equipment. In 1832 a Belgian inventor by the name of Joseph Plateau created a device called the “Fantascope” or “spindle viewer”. Simple enough, it made a sequence of seperate pictures depicting stages or actions, like juggling or dancing. The images were arranged around the outter circle of a slotted disk. The disk required being placed in front of a mirror and rotated.

Someone viewing through the slots saw a moving picture (Filmsite) In 1934 William George Horner, a British inventor, invited the “Daedalum”. The Daedalum was a hollow, rotating drum with a crank, and had a strip of sequential photographs and drawings on the interior. Spectators observed the ‘moving’ drawings (Filmsite). “The first machine patented in the United States that showed animated pictures or movies was a device called the “wheel of life” or “zoopraxiscope”. Patented in 1867 by William Lincoln, moving drawings or photographs were watched through a slit in the “zoopraxiscope. (Ask. com). However, those inventions were not near the modern film we know and love today. Its hard to know who exactly created what first, due to so many inventors around the globe, all creating similar things. Credit is typically given to a Frenchmen by the name Louis Lumiere for inventing the first motion picture camera in 1895. But in contrast several others are recorded for making similar inventions at similar times. Lumiere invited a portable motion picture camera, film processing unit and projector called the Cinematographe, three functions covered in one invention.

The Cinematographe made motion pictures popular to the public, some say Louis Lumiere started the motion picture era. In the same year Lumiere and his brother presented moving, photographic, pictures to a paying audience. Though that was a major point in the creation of the film we have today, Lumiere and his brother were not the first. “The cinema is an invention without a future. ” Surely Louis would eat his words if shown the world of modern film today. A few years earlier the Edison company succesfully demonstrated the Kinetoscope.

The Kinetoscope allowed one person at a time to view moving pictures. In the year 1896 Thomas Edison released his new and improved Vitascope projector. The Vitascope was the first comercially, succesful, projector in the U. S. (About. com). When 1889 came around the first commercial transparent film roll was perfected by Eastman and his team of research chemist. This allowed Edison to develop his motion pictures, and play them on other Vitascopes. The Vitascope’s first theatrical exhibition was on April 23, 1896, at Koster and Bial’s Music Hall in New York City.

Along with numerous competitor projectors, the Vitascope became a popular attraction in lots of vaudeville theaters in major cities across the United States. Motion pictures became the leading attractions on the vaudville bill. Owners of vaudeville theaters could choose the filmt they desired from the Edison inventory and show them in whatever order they pleased. The Edison Company developed a more efficient projector known as the Projectoscope or Projecting Kinetoscope in November 1896, and abandoned marketing the Vitascope (About). In the modern world of Film, money rules all.

Critic reviews have little to do with the status of your film, production companies are typically intersted box office results. In the media, films that gross the highest are considered the best, but some patrons of cinema disagree. Many cult films such as “Napoleon Dynamite” or “Dazed and Confused” did poorly in the boxoffices and are now considered classics. This is where the politics of a sort come to play in the industry. Many directors and writers are creating works of art, in which they pour their feelings into, yet the media occasionally portrays major production companies as only being concerned with financial profit.

It can create quite a quarel between the creators and the companies covering the costs. Due to ticket inflattion and the changing of currency values, it is difficult to determine what is the highest-grossing films through the entire history of motion pictures. Some say Snow White did amazing in the box office and could even compare to some of the top ranking films of today but it is almost impossible to truly know (IMBd). James Cameron, a well known socialist filmmaker, has the right idea when it comes to making high profiting films.

IMDb rankings, a well-known motion picutre internet site, has the worldwide highest-grossing films listed as the following: “Avatar”2009 profiting $2,772,578,066; “Titanic” 1997 placing second with $1,834,201,268; and in a close third was the final part to Peter Jacksons “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, “Return of the King” gaining a net worth of $1,066,179,725. James Cameron was the writer and director of the first two rankings (IMBd). Film making is more then just dollars and cents to the true artist of motion pictures. Film shows the tangible imagination from another beings mind.

An alternate world where unfathomable ideas can be created, and even a pivotal moment in history can be re-lived. How could one truly comprehend the intensity of WWII Invasion of Normandy without Steven Spielbergs classic Saving Private Ryan. How could one fathom the oppresion of Jews without Schindlers List, or the tribulations of American outlaw John Dillinger, like portrayed in Michael Mann’s Public Enemy. Many film makers have re-accuring traits that they become known for. A film buff would recognize a Michael Bay film by it’s excessive explosions, or a Quentin Tarantino flick by it’s elaborate dialogue.

Despite being absent from the highest-grossing film charts for a few odd years, one director/writer can be considered the godfather of film. Known for his violent, crime ridden masterpieces where ‘F-bombs’ are frequent; Martin Scorsese has many re-accuring traits. In an interview with BBC Martin discusses his attractions to violence and tells about his favorite parts of creating a film. BBC tells Mr. Scorsese he is often criticised for being “morrally bankrupt” as a film maker. Many of his films deal with evil men and attractive defenceless women and ofcourse excessive violence.

Martin responds saying violence is always brought up when people discuss his films, he tells BBC he is depicting a real world. He portrays a world where rules are enforced by violence. In Raging Bull 1980 he shows the life of famous boxer Jake Lamotta, “Heres a man who’s job in life is to go into a ring ad hit people and get hit and then he comes home and he expresses himself through violence. And so, I think because violence figures so prominently in these worlds that I depict, I guess the question is why am I attracted to these worlds? “(Martin Scorsese).

Film makers create things from their interest, whatever intrigues them is going to be the things depicted through their films. Their parental figures, where they grew up, and religion are just a few factors that can comprise a creators film. “I am always attracted to that [violence] because of the nature of conflict and the nature of drama, and I come from an area where, growing up, this was all around me and these were the impressions that I got. I saw a great deal of violence, I saw a great deal of emotional and phychological violence, and spiritual violence that way.

A thing like that leaves an impression on you, it doesn’t leave you. ” (Martin Scorsese). BBC questioned Martin Scorsese about his favorite things when making his films. Choosing an audio aid to help him express his scenes seems to be what he enjoys the most. “It can carry an entire film, you know? It was a pschological level of importance, in terms of assisiting the image in order to re-enforce a point across to the viewer. It can also help a film to cut better. Music is important on so many levels. “(Martin Scorsese). One can understand more about directors and writers from this interview (BBC Online).

There are a few down sides to the art form known as Cinema. Through out the entire history of film, specific films have been banned by film censorship or review organizations for moral, religious, or political reasons. James Cameron’s sci-fi romance “Avatar” was banned by a state-run China film group. If one has viewed this film its obvious the theme of forced eviction and relocation, in order to support industry, is parallel to the events taking place in China today (TheEscapistMagazine). “Avatar” was planned to open on Jan 2.

It’s opening week in China was delayed because of China’s annual limit on foreign films, “Avatar” couldn’t open there until January 23rd. Their were speculations made that this occured because it would help theaters make room for a biopic of the famous philosopher Confucius starring Chow Yun-Fat. A film more in line with the values espoused by the nation’s government (Los Angeles Times). Censorship isn’t the only stifle to the creativity of cinema. Film can always be capitalized to specific demographics through subliminal messaging. Subliminal message programs are designed to bombard your sub-concious with positive statements.

Film, something that serves to entertain, can be used to advertise, or in some cases even provoke vices. Subliminal messages are written in affirmations, such as “I am… ” “I have… “, and always in the positive tense. What makes subliminal messaging so effective to the mind is that because they directly target the subconscious, they experience no resistance from the conscious mind (eruptingmind). In the 1950’s the first accuring subliminal messages were delicious buttery popcorn and cold refreshments that appeared just quick enough that it could reach your subsconcious mind.

What a coincedence that these specific images were shown, with a conviently placed reshreshment stand near by. For reasons unknown, the Disney movies have created virtually unoticable inuendos promoting sexual subjects. Many question why these crude things are scattered through the media directed towards youthful audiences. This sparks worry that maybe modern motion pictures have taken a turn for the worse. Why would advertisement take advantage of the population? Possibly to make a profit.

So if the production campanies are primarily interested in the net profit, and now advertisement has stepped in attepting to capatilize off the viewers as well, has film truly changed for the better or worse? Did this simple idea of entertainment snow ball into a money hungered multi-billion dollar industry? Some would admit they’ve lost hope and no-longer see the positives of motion pictures anymore. Yet others are hopeful, and excited to see what’s next in the world of film. One can only hope another cinematic revolution changes things for the better.