Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cinematic Reality: What is real? PART SEVEN


Our sense of cinematic reality is partly changed by history, which, in turn, gives rise to new technologies that also change our understanding of social reality.

As new events occur in our collective history, we employ new methods of contextualizing and processing those events with our new media technologies.

These new media technologies, in turn, change the way that we define cinematic reality.

The advent of the camera seemed to usher in an era of unequivocal objectivity and truth.

The advent of radio meant broadcasting information in the form of news and entertainment.

The advent of television meant the union of sight and sound in a way that cinema had already shown to be a powerful likeness of truth years before.  But unlike cinema, it had found a way into people's homes.

Each of these innovations was accompanied by historical change.   And each of these innovations was used to contextualize historical change.

Radio was used to provide information about real world events during World War One and Two.

Cinema was used as propaganda in the films of Leni Riefenstahl for the German state; by Sergei Eistenstein in service of the Russian state; and by Frank Capra in his "Why We Fight" documentaries for the United States during World War II.

16mm film was used to capture actual footage during World War II by all parties involved.  It was also used to capture footage of Vietnam, as well as the Lunar landing.

Television news was used to distribute images of Vietnam and the Lunar landing in American households.

Today we live in an era of Social Media, in which  a myriad of ways to understand our present social reality exists.  Some of these are old media applied in new ways.  And some are new media applied in untested ways.

And yet each of these is changing our experience of social reality and the expectations of reality that we bring to the movie theater.

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