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Cinema and Film Entertainment


Cinema and Film Entertainment

Films are a major form of entertainment, although not all films have entertainment as their primary purpose: documentary film, for example, aims to create a record or inform, although the two purposes often work together. The medium was a global business from the beginning: "The Lumière brothers were the first to send cameramen throughout the world, instructing them to film everything which could be of interest for the public." In 1908, Pathé launched and distributed newsreels and by World War I, films were meeting an enormous need for mass entertainment. "In the first decade of the 20th century cinematic programmes combined, at random, fictions and newsfilms." The Americans first "contrived a way of producing an illusion of motion through successive images," but "the French were able to transform a scientific principle into a commercially lucrative spectacle". Film therefore became a part of the entertainment industry from its early days. Increasingly sophisticated techniques have been used in the film medium to delight and entertain audiences. Animation, for example, which involves the display of rapid movement in an art work, is one of these techniques that particularly appeals to younger audiences.

The advent of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the 21st century made it "possible to do spectacle" more cheaply and "on a scale never dreamed of" by Cecil B. DeMille. Sophisticated visual effects and CGI techniques have been used not only to create realistic images of people, landscapes and events (both real and fantastic) but also to animate non-living items such as Lego normally used as entertainment as a game in physical form. Creators of The Lego Movie "wanted the audience to believe they were looking at actual Lego bricks on a tabletop that were shot with a real camera, not what we actually did, which was create vast environments with digital bricks inside the computer." The convergence of computers and film has allowed entertainment to be presented in a new way and the technology has also allowed for those with the personal resources to screen films in a home theatre, recreating in a private venue the quality and experience of a public theatre. This is similar to the way that the nobility in earlier times could stage private musical performances or the use of domestic theatres in large homes to perform private plays in earlier centuries.

Films also re-imagine entertainment from other forms, turning stories, books and plays, for example, into new entertainments. The Story of Film, a documentary about the history of film, gives a survey of global achievements and innovations in the medium, as well as changes in the conception of film-making. It demonstrates that while some films, particularly those in the Hollywood tradition that combines "realism and melodramatic romanticism", are intended as a form of escapism, others require a deeper engagement or more thoughtful response from their audiences. For example, the award winning Senegalese film Xala takes government corruption as its theme. Charlie Chaplin's film The Great Dictator was a brave and innovative parody, also on a political theme. Stories that are thousands of years old, such as Noah, have been re-interpreted in film, applying familiar literary devices such as allegory and personification with new techniques such as CGI to explore big themes such as "human folly", good and evil, courage and despair, love, faith, and death – themes which have been a main-stay of entertainment across all its forms.

As in other media, excellence and achievement in films is recognised through a range of awards, including ones from the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, the Cannes International Film Festival in France and the Asia Pacific Screen Awards.

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