16 Jun 2014

Film History

Recently I heard a statement that left me stunned, shocked and subsequently made me think: 

“The history of cinema is so short in timeframe and small in output compared to literature, that by spending a reasonably short amount of time you can watch all of the ‘classic films’ and thus have a very good understanding of cinema history”.

Firstly, comparing cinema history to literature history is a completely irrelevant, inadequate and ultimately redundant act- so much so that it is pointless discussing it any further.

The history of film is so vast and enormous that even in your wildest dreams you cannot imagine it. Once you start watching films and sink deeper and deeper into cinema the more you realise just how many ‘classic’ films there are. What even constitutes a ‘classic’ film; there are so many films that have been overshadowed and ‘lost, which have only begun to resurface. 

Cinema is constantly reassessing its own past and chronology, and with that you begin to realise that it is almost impossible to watch too many movies and in fact the more you see more you begin to realise that you have seen absolutely nothing in respect to what is actually out there. 

There is a great deal of films from so many different countries that we have never even heard of and very little written information exists about them other than the fact that they are waiting to be discovered and to be eventually brought into mass culture.

Finally, this appalling statement came from someone who teaches filmmaking to young students in an academic environment!