Film: A Slice of Life, of Humankind

The history of film has gone so much longer and has done so much to preserve the countless and timeless expression of culture and ideas of humankind. With that, it then deserves the same kind of homage it deserves in our modern times. Let us go down then, to the most significant ideas and questions about films and be able to appreciate it in today’s modern context.

Life and Art

“Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.”

– Oscar Wilde

The idea of Wilde’s statement is that you cannot separate the essence of art from the essence of life. In Filming itself, it has one of the genres called “slice-of-life” and with this genre, I can attest to the fact that life in general, the culmination of all human history and significant experiences are all beautifully expressed and its message justified through the medium of expression which is art.

“(It) results not merely from Life’s imitative instinct, but from the fact that the self-conscious aim of Life is to find expression, and that Art offers it certain beautiful forms through which it may realise that energy.”.

– Oscar Wilde

Filming in its essence, from soap operas in TV’s to movie films in theatres, all capture and tell stories of parts of humanity. Whether it is a historically inspired film about Anne Frank and the Holocaust, or the Star Wars series of humans venturing out in space in a speculative plot of science fiction in the future, all of these capture humanity in its moments. It always has that small sideline genre of “Slice of life” within every film. It is in these significant experiences of humans being focused or portrayed in films, the ideas it tries to express is what makes the films beautiful in essence. That we humans are able to appreciate this because we are capable of relating to each and every individual character involve in the film.

Purpose and Importance

There has been a wide range of use already for films in the 21st Century. Mainly some films are produced out of entertainment for the consumers and profit for the producers. It is in this ridiculous disposition that I truly detest how films are just reduced to profiteering and shallow appreciation of art. Yes to each his own cup of tea I guess, however, the significance of filming has been degraded due to the modern world where everything just moves fast and so filming, a form of art, just seemed to degrade into human recreation, losing its essence. What I am trying to say is profiteering for the filming industry has always been the main purpose of creating content, for the people to enjoy at that time. However what digresses the modern day to the past is that today, the idea of filming is just slapping in a bunch of plots that just was there for content’s sake and not for the purpose of projecting an idea or expressing something with relevance.

With that said in my own opinion, I think the purpose of films cannot be reduced only to entertainment or education. What I think is that it is the producer or the creator of the content who gives the purpose of that film, no matter how noble or how shitty the purpose is. Whether it was made for the entertainment or education, what matters is that it is capable of capturing an idea of humankind, a slice of life, and be able to use such essence in a film, for whatever purpose you want your film to have.

Films – its role in History and Culture

One of the things, why I consider films to be a very powerful medium of expression, is that it is capable of narrating countless stories, through countless context, in countless ways.

What this means is that it is capable of narrating stories in such a way that it is capable of actually forming opinions within society and be able to encourage dialogue at that particular time where different cultures were just beginning to be represented properly in the films throughout society. Minority groups such as the blacks and the LGBT’s, their stories and involvement as characters in films made a lot of public noise and created a society that engages with the contemporary issues at hand.

Films are what narrated a certain slice of life in humankind, representing ideas and culture and presenting them to the public. This is the power of storytelling, through the aesthetics of expression films were able to have the power to exacerbate or belittle certain issues at hand.

My own stand on arising issues about films

The first thing that is really heavily debated upon about films, specifically old films, is to whether or not colorize the old fashioned black and white films.

What I attest for in this topic is that I digress on the idea of colorizing black and white films. For one it tampers with the method of expressing ideas the director of that film is trying to do, and second is that it disregards and disrespect the zeitgeist of that era as it deliberately destroys the sense of aesthetic to which that film represents.

When we actually provide the choice of colorizing these old films, the current generation might have the wrong impression and idea of what these old films are trying to portray and as such it does not give justice to the overall essence of the film and the surrounding context as it was painstakingly made to give of that artistic expression.

Another issue is the use of digital formats in preserving and keeping films.

From what I have understood of these, what they will do is that they will transfer old films (like in the nitrate films etc.) into the new formats like CDs and DVD. In lieu of such endeavors also, they will from now on produce films and keep it in digital format.

What it basically means for old films is that it will duplicate the film in traditional form and store them in digital format for the possibility of redistribution in the public all the while safe keeping the original format like the nitrate films etc.

I personally agree with this effort of storing and producing films on digital format. It is for me one of the most effective ways of making the public appreciate more these old films.

Although we concede to the fact that there are repercussions in using digital formats (Piracy, aesthetics, etc.) I would like to assert that at the end of the day, the pros will outweigh the cons in using digital formats for films. Yes, it may destroy the authentic experience of watching from a nitrate film but at the same time, we have to give priority to the public opinion and appreciation of these films for these to be still relevant in modern context.

Problems arising from preserving old films

Regardless of the age of the print itself, damage may occur if stored improperly. Damage to the film (caused by tears on the print, curling of the film base due to intense light exposure, temperature, humidity, etc.) all significantly raises the difficulty of the preservation process.

Many films simply do not have enough information left on the film to piece together a new master, although careful digital restoration can produce stunning results by gathering bits and pieces of buildings from adjacent frames for restoration on a damaged frame, predicting entire frames based on the characters’ movements in prior and subsequent frames, etc.

Cost is another obstacle. In 2014, Martin Scorsese’s non-profit The Film Foundation, dedicated to film presentation, estimated the average cost of photochemical restoration of a color feature with sound at $50,000 to $100,000 dollars, with digital 2K or 4K restoration at “several hundred thousand dollars.”

The degree of physical and chemical damage of film influences the incentive to preserve, i.e. as the business perspective states that once a film is no longer “commercially” viable, it stops generating profit and becomes a financial liability.

While few films would not benefit from digital restoration, the high cost of restoring films digitally still prevents the method from being as broadly applied as it might be.

Book or Film?

Personally, I am not that much an avid fan of books or films although I truly love them. What I am trying to say is that there are only a few books and films endearing to me that I certainly do keep physical and soft copies of it with me.

I have that inclination not to watch or read new stuff since the ones I have are enough. Though I take interest to those of similar to the ones I have I still don’t consider much becoming a connoisseur of movies and book novels.

In my own opinion, there is no defining ground that both the book or film are better than the other. For me, both of them represents a slice of life of humankind, something that expresses ideas, emotions, and perspectives. Something that represents ideologies, and culture that is of human experience.

Both the paper and the film are ways of aesthetically expressing human experiences which give justification and respect to that certain significant human experience.

Humankind – Stories unite; Theories divide

From what I have understood from the principle, all human experiences results in the difference in opinions, cultures, influences, thoughts, the way we live, attitudes, and thus difference in perspectives which was all cultivated from our significant human experiences.

Now as I have mentioned the power of films to be capable of narrating stories in ways so powerful it compels people to be engaged in dialogue.

That is really what the principle is all about, that regardless of our difference in experiences cultivating us different perspectives in life, we can unite under the power of storytelling. That filming has the power to artistically narrate a story… a significant experience and thus perspective of a human being which then unites us in ways that dialogue ensues and progress is certain due to the respect and justification of representing that perspective or side of the story.

Our culmination of experience as humankind is brought by our history of countless conflicts in the past by which we in our desire to be represented, is being compelled to express in the highest pinnacle of aesthetics in order to give justice to the emotion and context surrounding that experience.

That is what filming is all about, that slice of life, all full of fillings that are the context of that experience, and the acknowledgement and respect for the people who was enriched by these experience and are now sharing it to the rest of the world.

Sources:
 > Elsie Bonita Adams (1971). “Art and Reality”. Bernard Shaw and the aesthetes. Ohio State University Press. pp. 76–77. ISBN 0-8142-0155-5.
 >  film-foundation.org FAQ http://www.film-foundation.org/faq
 > “Film vs. Digital: A Comparison of the Advantages and Disadvantages”PetaPixel. 26 May 2015. Retrieved 2017-08-08.

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