Sunday, May 17, 2015
Cinematic Reality: What is real? PART FOUR
CULTURAL CYCLES OF REALISM: ICONOCLASTS
"Star Wars," "2001: A Space Odyssey," "The French Connection," and "A Fistful of Dollars" were all iconoclastic when they debuted.
They challenged the prevailing generic offerings. They challenged the stories that were told. And they challenged the way those stories were told -- even in the case of "Star Wars" and "A Fistful of Dollars," movies which rarefied the myths their directors had enjoyed as children, even as they attempted to replace those myths with something more convincing. More real!
It is interesting to note how a film like "2001," which was considered iconoclastic for its time, could then be seen as part of the status quo by someone like George Lucas only a few years later!
THE CYCLE OF REALISM, FROM INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION TO CONVENTION
It seems safe to say then that cultural shifts in public consciousness are partly responsible for shifts in the public's definition of what constitutes reality in cinema.
Movies like "Star Wars" and "A Fistful of Dollars" were able to break from convention, and, because of their social impact, were co-opted and imitated, until the revolution had become the convention from which future movies would try to break -- even while being inspired by the very thing they would seek to replace!
This is a natural progression in all of the arts as something that was at first innovative and cutting edge in one industry becomes overly familiar and repetitive, and requires a "fresh approach."
But industrial convention is not the only reason for altering the audience's conception of reality.