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Film's Contribution to Society

Updated on December 20, 2017


Film breaking barriors in society


I believe that the root of film in general is closely tied to breaking barriers. The birth of film in the 1800's I feel has firstly given people the opportunity to experience action. With film comes an ability to capture our surroundings and exposure, it is the first step in my opinion to breaking any barrier down for society. Film has quickly evolved and in the last 200 years today as a filmmaker I have seen videos evolve into projects where random citizens on the streets are legally allowed to to capture unjust police violence or stream public events. As a filmmaker this is a right that I am proud has sprouted from film. I believe that film helps us bring to light all that is good, all that we question and all that is bad in the world. With the simple freedoms that have evolved from film I will argue that Documentaries, the dissolve of censors and the New Wave Era have helped film to get to this point that it stands today with large creative freedoms and to break down barriers in society.

Documentaries can be described as a film experience with no interference. These films are produced without scripts or narration. This helps to paint a portrait of real active life. We see in Documentaries the most raw cuts available as filmmakers simply tape what occurs around them. This contributes to breaking down barriers as we as an audience are able to experience first hand something occuring on screen.

The French New wave of 1958 was early described by author Francoise Girond in his book; "The new wave: portrait of today's youth" as young people dealing with political and social issues. This is relevant because the reaction of the young public to domestic social issues could easily expand to film, which soon enough does happen. This description later evolves into one that describes the movement that young filmmakers create. The distinct originality and uniqueness that was bore from these particular films also support the breaking of barriers. As France at the time of the wave was an internationally acclaimed territory; the attitude of grabbing film "by the balls" only spread. Throughout the 1960's other countries would support this movement by bringing to light their own domestic social issues. Inspired by the French New Wave, the free cinema movement in England would come to portray homosexuality in movies as gay rights emerges during the "swinging London" era. Even in America, years after denying such European films for its content; would filmmakers also contribute to challenging societies perspectives on particular lifestyles and exposing relatable and touchy situations.

In 1932 Howard Hanks and Richard Rosson came together to make Scarface. A film that explored the spectrum of crime that society was not used to seeing. As being compared to a more common one sided storyline of "cop bags the bad guy," we are shown the experience of "the bad guy" and as an audience I feel there is an empathy that we gain from getting to know this "bad guy." With this movie came a different way to view both life's situations and film as we must be empathetic to be considered proper judges.

In 1960; Albert Hitchcock released Psycho, the first serial killed movie. Since this movie was subjected to the Hayes code those who watched it from a more traditional perspective felt that it was "too dark" of a movie. On the opposite end the younger audience felt that the movie was bold and that the dark aspects were necessary to the story. Throughout the growth of film and as the Hayes code and studio system dissolves with films like Hitchcock's Psycho, filmmakers and audience's alike grow tired of being told what they can and cannot portray or see in films. I feel this is a major component in Film breaking barriers down as portraying realistic scenarios not only makes an entertaining picture but also connects to the portion of society that is affected by issues such as crime or mental illness.

With the Hayes code abolished audience's internationally are able to experience on screen content that would have been considered "vulgar" or any loose term related that would cause an entire countries system to censor its citizens. Some of the content that audience's are being exposed to after Hayes disappears includes; profanity, nudity, interracial relationships, homosexuality and women in positions of power. With this shift in media comes a shift in politics as well. With the New Wave spreading across the nation, America is exposed to a women's liberation and a gay rights movement as well. These actions and social movement's of course are always right alongside of film. Personally; film has always been to me an outlet for the social issues that go on in my own society. Today we are living in a world where any person with a camera can go out and film publicly or privately practically anything just for us to have the option of watching it On the web later. Not only has film helped to break barriers down over the last 200 years, in my opinion; film has helped to shape societies outcomes as well; supporting countless liberation movements and exposing a multitude of cultural and economic issues.

© 2017 Christa Canady

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