I found it very difficult to understand many of Ray’s ideas and theories, but he does pose multiple intriguing questions about cinema. The two questions that I want to answer are:
- Do popular narratives differ in some fundamental way from “artistic,”“high-art” ones?
- Could enchantment be mass produced?
If these questions were asked in relation to the popular films of today, I would instantly think of the Twilight saga. After all, the final installment will soon hit theatres!
To answer the first question, I would say absolutely yes. ‘Popular’ narratives (in my own opinion) are the ones that everyone knows about – whether they love them or hate them. In today’s times, it seems like most popular narratives involve mystical creatures and supernatural concepts. For example, Twilight is without a doubt one of the most well-known narratives of the past several years. It absolutely does differ from ‘artistic, high art’ narratives. That’s right. I am confidently stating that no one is going to consider Twilight to be artistic or high art. Now, the actual question is how does it differ? I do not think it comes down to what it lacks, but instead what it has – teenage main characters and supernatural characters (vampires, werewolves). Can you think of any artistic, high-art narrative that has both teenage main characters and supernatural characters? I didn’t think so…
To answer the second question, I would say absolutely yes again! After Twilight was published as a novel and then produced as a film, its ‘enchantment’ was mass produced. The world saw a surge of novels, films, and television series created from the magical world of vampires and werewolves. I think this definitely contributed to the annoyance and hatred surrounding anything vampire-related. Audience members (readers and movie-goers) want to believe that enchantment cannot be mass-produced, but in all actuality, it absolutely is mass-produced all the time. Whether it is in the style of the classic love story, the rags-to-riches story, or the vampire story, narratives will always find a way to capture and re-produce the enchantment that attracts an audience.