Defining Cinema and film
Since the literal meaning of cinema and film are closed to each other, there are certain confusion about the usage of these two words in either articles or public propaganda. Also, in daily use of the vocabulary “Cinema” and “Film” it seems like we have ignored the differences between them. However, there exists essential differences between cinema and film. In this paper, I will first analyze the essence of cinema and film to have a clear distinguish between them. Conclusively, I will present my definition of cinema and film in my own words.
According to the literal meaning on dictionary, film was interpreted as the thin plastic used in a camera for taking photographs or recording moving pictures and it also means a form of story-telling at the cinema or on television. Cinema is interpreted as the business and art of making films and it can be also interpreted as a place where people go to watch films for entertainment. Comparatively, the literal definition of cinema is boarder and more abstract than film which film contains mainly film art and cinema contains the combination of business and film art as an industry chain. In another word, film tends to include the things happened within the post film production period. For example, the script design, the filming technique, the director and so on. Cinema tends to include the things after film production when the films are released in public. It might relate to the film social influence, the audience reflection on film and so on. Since the definition of “Film” in about producing a film, then the essence of film is function of presenting visual experiences. For example, the film Armulf Rainer(1960) which we watched in class is a film purely about back and white visual experience. The repetitive and alternant black and white scene emphasized the awareness of real time, moreover it discusses the relationship between metronomic time and film time. It also allows the audience to watch the film with their eyes either open or close to feel the changing of light. Also in the film Lemon(1969) by Hollis Frampton, the filmmaker created a visual experience of looking at a lemon under the changing lights. Without any idea present in film, the audience will still have their own interpretation and understanding of the film. Rather than the film meaning, the visual experience presented by the film offers more space for the audience comprehend. As Stan Brakhage argued in his article “From Metaphors on Vison” that pure film that we as human usually react to the stimulation by how we are taught to react, but pure film put away the subjectivity and forces us to see something which have not yet structured. The visual experience of film constitute film as an art form which is purely used to deliver experience. Within film, the motion, the light, the time, the materiality and color and sound are all important for the film maker to achieve certain visual effect in order to create a satisfied visual experience to the audience. However, within the pure films, meaning of the film is less important comparatively.
As the film developed and matured, more and more films are released in the cinema and the entertainment demand on film gradually increase. As the film industry expand, more and more films are produced for business needs. The fast-food-style filmmaking more or less will impact the overall quality of the film and the so called trendy film can sometimes lost the pureness of filmmaking. Imagine the film Lemon(1969) is remade and released in the cinema, there will be several so called trendy idea put in the film to fulfill the audience and there will be more personal subjective concept put in the film which totally lost the original visual experience which the filmmaker was trying to create originally. Therefore, if we see the cinema from an artistic aspect, the commerce in cinema become unnecessary and alienated which impact the visual experience that the film is presenting and even the idea which the film is delivering. Cinema, as a form of developed film or the media of film contributes to the film propagation and publishing. Imagine there is no more cinema at all, films lost their biggest media for propagating and publishing which is huge strike on the film commerce but not the quality of film itself.
Above all, I believe there is no such pure cinema but only pure film. The film art form itself can keep its pureness by focusing on the art work itself but cinema cannot avoid its relationship with film business demand which is conflicted with the pure cinema. Overall, film can be defined as the moving image art form which create visual experiences for the audience and cinema can be defined as a media of film in order to perfect the entire film industry.