“ A new art with laws of its own”

As discussed in previous essays, film was not seen not as an art, but as parasitic- using other art forms such as plays and novels as primary inspiration. Béla Balázs proposed a different idea in Film And/ As Literature. He discusses how film enhances the human sensitivity in a way that novels and plays cannot. Balázs writes, “The intensity of the close-up drove out the complicated story and brought a new literary form into being.”(217)  This quote illustrates how film picks up where literary forms left off.  At the very least, literature conveys the ideas of the author, whether the author be a director, script writer or novelist. Film does something that the written cannot do. “Film can lifts such a figure out of the greatest crowd and devote special attention to it, penetrate deeply into its emotions and psychology”(221), writes Balázs  . This can happen because film engages so many of the senses and is not just oratory.  …  “The script automatically came to be a paramount of importance. It needed dialogue, as a play did, but it needed very much more than that.” To use Marshall McLuhan theory of media being an extension of the human senses, film is an extension of our sight (eyes) and hearing (ears).  Sight allows us to enhance our imagination, which in turn allows us to imagine how something tastes, smells, or even feels. “But in the film visible and audible things are projected on to the same plane as the human characters and in that pictoral composition common to them all they are all equivalent participants in the action.”(217) The script-writer literally has a picture that he/she wants to portray, so every aspect of the script needs to be carefully thought out, as film is an all-inclusive art form. It is not only about the written dialogue, but it is about the stage direction, settling, lighting, and characters.

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About Tricia Zephyr

I am a work in progress
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One Response to “ A new art with laws of its own”

  1. I wanted to comment on this entry and completely dismiss the quote you chose about film being ‘visible and audible things’ being featured simultaneously with ‘human characters’ in effort to create some type of importance equivalency between all of the senses and the characters. I was going to argue how that’s absurd – literature does the SAME thing! It invokes the senses all at the same time of featuring characters, etc. However, the more I think about it, the more I realize that this is completely untrue. As discussed in my theory class last semester, words are only symbols. When I read the words “the train is speeding along,” I do not see the train or hear the train. Yes, I know what a train looks like and I know what a train sounds like – but reading the words alone does not create a mental image that we sometimes swear literature does. I know that might seem like common sense to someone else, but I keep viewing these postings in a very defensive manner. I want to naturally defend literature and preserve its value and importance. It is hard to even move past the fact that no one is attacking literature here – but on the contrary, most postings are just exploring the importance of cinema on a separate level from literature.

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