Monday, January 26, 2009

Hagrid, insanity, mimes and cool

When we first started discussing film in motion and the metaphor I would use to describe it I thought of a cherished book: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. At the end Hagrid gives Harry the moving picture of his family and it seems so life like; that I believe is how I would have tried to described them.

As we read in the article Ways of Seeing by John Berger, “The relationship between what we know and what we see are never settled.” Movies must have been such a valued reassurance to reality. Before movies there may have been doubts as to whether what we see is real or an illusion on a mass scale. Then there is the other side of the penny. A magician by the name of Georges Méliès wanted nothing more than to push the boundaries of sight with film by the art of cutting film. My favorite of the tricks that he did was L'homme orchestre. So there is a duality of sort. Just as soon as someone proves that what you are seeing is a reality someone else is showing you that it is not. It is enough to drive society crazy!

The next clip that I would like to turn your attention to is The Great Train Robbery. It was interesting watching how early movies were made. I like the overly drawn out deaths and the fake doubles. I am not scrutinizing them, I actually do like that movie theatrics were so simple. In movies today the plots have to be so thick, and the story line must have enormous layers of depth. I guess this is a sense of nostalgic cool coming over me. I love movies or I would not have taken the class, but I do appreciate the entire ruff that film had to go through to get to where it is today. In classical film actions had to tell a story without the aid of words. So the actions were exaggerated so that it was clear what was happening all the time.

Early movies were much like mimes, which apparently had a lot to do with the early history of film. How many of us today can say that our actions transcend words? That is a big claim. I believe there is something key to "cool" there. The art of cool acting hinges on the ability of the actor to portray a person whose whole being transcends words. That is cool!


  1. This art of cool you talk about seems to treat all the world as a stage? Is this a fair or healthy way to view the world?

  2. I think I am misunderstanding what you are saying can you rephrase the question?

  3. I'm glad that you appreciate the origins of film. You put yourself in the shoes of audiences past and saw that movies would have been very magical. Is there anything today that is comparable to that magical experience?

    Good post! Good use of links as well.

    Be sure to break up your paragraphs for easier reading.

  4. More and more does seem to be asked of good movies now, huh? Just think of the big blockbusters this year; most were incredibly long and had very complex, well, everything. Are we more advanced by needing so much, or are we desensitized to the simpler things?