I Survived Sandy! And Robert B. Ray!

And I hope you all did too!  Now, on to the blog post…

I’d pose the same question Ray poses on page 2: can enchantment (what I would purport to be the “crossroads of magic and positivism”) be mass produced?

Robert B. Ray discusses the idea of mass production in the early days of film, as he compares the efficiency of film creation to the production of Ford’s Model-T car.  Films, like the Model-T, were pumped out using a standard formula, quota and efficiency model, according to Ray.   Who’s to say this isn’t the case today?  Granted, film studios aren’t pumping out films once a week, but movies, for the most part, tend to tell the same story.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love, something happens, boy gets girl.  The end.  You can replace “girl” or “boy” with something else, but that’s might be seen in many popcorn flicks today as the efficiency model.  We’ve mentioned many times in class that there’s more than one way to create a film, yet we ultimately continue with the same narrative model, plugging in different subjects as we go along.  I suppose the “crossroads of magic and positivism” that Ray mentions might be what we plug into the formula to make the movie work efficiently.

So to answer the question I initially posed: I believe that “enchantment” can be mass produced.  The magic and positivism of movies can be created efficiently and with a formula that works for the sake of creation.  However, I don’t believe quality films (different from movies) can just be mass produced so easily and Ray seems a little leery about it himself as he says that “constant economic pressures, the conversion to sound, and the absolute preeminence of narrative all encouraged Hollywood’s tendency towards laconic filmmaking”.  (6).  These days, movies are a little bit more grandiose and take longer to make, but are still arguably made for the sake of efficiency and ecnonomic purposes (summer blockbusters that aren’t that great, case in point)  Never the less, there is a divide between the succinct form of making movies and the art of making films.  This divide could be seen as the “theory that breaks the spell” as Ray puts it.  (2).

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One Response to I Survived Sandy! And Robert B. Ray!

  1. Mike Salerno says:

    King Solomon said “There’s nothing new under the sun.” That was way before movies first came out :)

    I understand that most popular narratives follow a formulaic, predictable structure as you mention above. I also wonder if “artistic, high-art” films, as Ray labels them, are able to escape using formulae and common tropes found across all cinema? I’m not so sure they do. I don’t have any example in mind as I write this, but I have this strange feeling that most films could be broken down into common narrative structures.

    I think one of the major differences is how the stories are told, specifically, the mechanisms of narration that are used to convey the narratives. Do these “artistic, high-art” films use new methods of cinematography and editing not seen before? Do they use these tools in new and exciting ways?

    And a random question to finish my post: Are “artistic, high-art” films incapable of being mass produced?

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