Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Theory of Film: The Redemption of Physical Reality

Excerpt

It would be fair to advise the reader at the outset that this book does not include all the things he may be looking for. It neglects the animated cartoon and avoids broaching problems of color. Certain recent developments and extensions of the medium are left undiscussed also. There are doubtless still other omissions; indeed, some of the topics which loom large in most writings on film have either been relegated to the background or completely dropped. But the reader himself will not be slow in discovering these gaps, if gaps they are.

What then does the book deal with? Its exclusive concern is the normal black-and-white film, as it grows out of photography. The reason I confine myself to it is rather obvious: Film being a very complex medium, the best method of getting at its core is to disregard, at least temporarily, its less essential ingredients and varieties. I have adopted throughout this sensible procedure. And by the way, is the ground thus covered really so limited? From Lumière's first film strips to Fellini CABIRIA, from THE BIRTH OF A NATION to APARAJITO, and from POTEMKIN to PAISAN, practically all important cinematic statements have been made in black and white and within the traditional format.

In sum, my book is intended to afford insight into the intrinsic nature of photographic film. If it halfway serves the purpose, as I dare hope it does, it must of course apply to all elements and derivatives of the medium. So one might all the more argue that, in the interest of completeness, I should have brought to bear my theory also on color, the wide screen, television, and what not. Now note that color, for example, involves numerous issues which cannot be apprehended in a cursory manner. To mention one such issue, experience shows that, contrary to what should be expected, natural colors, as recorded by the camera, tend to weaken rather than increase the realistic effect which black-and-white . . .

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