Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Contextual Studies: Cinema as a Door

When it comes to tell a narrative there are many ways that you can do it. You can choose literature, music, images or even moving images, today some of the most talked about narratives are those told through the medium of film.

Much like literature there is a variety of different genres to satisfy any taste, this includes both fiction and non fiction. These types of narratives are defined by their genre and many have "best of examples" amongst their own genres as their are some instances where comparing two different films for their merits of story telling is almost impossible due to their vast difference in genre. Each genre has a target audience too, such as 15+ teens are the most marketable audience for horror films which results in many of the characters in these films being of a relatable age.

Cinema is a door in which anyone can watch an enjoy a narrative, in which subtle choices in editing or directing can create a huge emotional impact upon a viewer be it due to the acting or the way a camera is positioned, a film can make people feel sadness, fear, happiness and truly is powerful asset in story telling.

Whilst cinema is wonderful it does has it's dark points one such aspect is that of The Gaze. By sitting an watching a film the experience is different from a book, we're actually seeing people move an interact, imitating real life. The Gaze is essentially the act of watching a film but the concept of doing so is consider voyeuristic as many theorists such as Laura Mulvey have tried to draw attention to the objectification of characters in films especially that of females.

The general idea is that women are presented in a way that is unrealistic and idealised through a man's point of view. Mulvey argued that women are presented as characture of what they are, often being presented as silm glamourous things, with ditzy minds. Whilst this is true for some films at the time, the men in those films were just as objectified to present the ideal man to the audience. A common tag line for romance or thriller movies is "Women want him, Men want to be him", this kind of tagline shows that a male character can be marketed towards male and female characters in different ways as the character is an idealised version of what a man should be. Most of Mulvey's work cites pre-1970s films in which women often were never a sole star of a film, either playing along side or taking a backseat in a film.

Since then there have been many films in which female characters have much more empowerment and central roles, such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001), Alien (1979), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005), Terminator 2 (1991). Whilst on screen they're still objectified either by the way they act or how they look what's important to remember is that so are the men. All characters in films can be anaylised as a characture of their gender as it makes them easily identifiable to the audience, the over sexualisation is there to add fantasy to these movies, to seperate them from reality. If you want to go see real women or men in real situations go sit in the middle of a town some where and watch women walking by, it'd still be considered voyueristic but it won't make for good entertainment.

Everything in film is fictionalised, the reason why you're watching is because you want to experience the fantastic elements that only a film can provide. Maybe to say Cinema as a door is wrong but more of a window into world that you can't truly experience, aslong as you can define the differences between the two realities everything is fine.

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