By Valerie Padilla
Our most dominant sense as humans is the ability to see and interpret a picture, a situation, or anything that we are able to perceive with our eyesight. With their first and foremost sense of sight, humans are able to grasp a more meaningful understanding of the world that surrounds them. That is why we spend our time waiting for the next thing to catch our eye quite often. For this reason, it is no wonder that movies and the film industry as a whole are extremely successful. Even as early as 1895, with the development of cinematography, it became apparent that motion pictures would have a great influence on human beings. Certain aspects, like representation and relatable characters for people to place themselves in, whether it is the handsome hero, someone going through a hardship, or even the bad guy, allow each movie to be as engaging as the last. This is why the movie industry, which has grown significantly since its beginning in the early 1900s, has become such a large form of entertainment. Since this is such a regular occurrence in our world, “the beauty of film” is often questioned and even taken for granted, even though it is such a hugely influential form of entertainment.
Today, one could go to the movie theater to see any new blockbuster in theaters, or one could simply watch it at home by using a streaming platform such as Netflix or purchasing it, which is an increasingly common practice. This then poses the question, "What makes film so enticing?" Or, in other words, what truly is the "beauty of film?" The styles and genres of films are endless, and the usage of film in our culture has created a unique type of community that studies and even creates films of their own to continue this creative language of storytelling. Just as different people can have different ideas of what is considered "beautiful," the definition of beauty in a film is going to be different for everyone because it lies within the eyes of the beholder, which explains why films continue to be made and released for all audiences to perceive. From this, we can come to a common idea of what the beauty of film is by understanding that all films that are made and released hold the main objective: to express emotions through cinematic means. The choice of setting and subject, the usage of light/ shadow, camera movement/positioning, costume/makeup design, editing techniques, and sound all come together to craft an element that can be considered both artful or technical and overall "beautiful."
These means are impactful in such a way that some films leave an everlasting impression on some individuals who find everything perfect in a film down to the tiniest detail. Although this is not the only aspect that can be said to create the beauty of film. Many individuals do not pay attention to the technical aspects involved with creating a film; instead, they are waiting to be fully immersed into a world where a story so vividly interesting will be told not through words but through moving real pictures in front of them. While watching Avatar, for example, the lushness of the alien flora draws you into that different world, and you become so consumed by the story that the camera angles, lighting, or any other element that brings you outside of the film is no longer in your thoughts. With this in mind, the "beauty of film" could be argued to be the visual communication of the story and its components, not necessarily the technical "cinema" that contributes to it.
Overall, the quest to truly understand the “beauty of film” and why it has captured the hearts and minds of so many audiences throughout history is something that is considered impossible to truly answer but I do hope I gave you something specific to think about the next time you are so engrossed in a film you forget that it was manually produced and quite indeed fictional.