Analyzing a film, I think is, perhaps, more difficult than that of any other arts. Since its beginning in the days of the Lumiere brothers, the film has grown, retraced its steps, sprung in different directions at the same time, been hampered and impeded on all sides, in the most remarkable way. No medium of expression calls for a wide variation of technical accomplishment as does the film. Nowadays few facts are actually put on record concerning films that it is quite conceivable that a time may come when such important pictures as Metropolis, M, or even The Godfather will be but names at which future generations will wonder.
Furthermore, even to see a film is not necessarily to observe all its values. Few percent of movie-goers are watching a film from a viewpoint of a observer. The difficulty to observe a movie has started and been intensified way back, when they introduced synchronized dialogue and its accompanying sound. The loss to the visual image whilst the audience is trying to understand the dialogue must be great. The critic himself is inclined to fall under the power of the story, and another and more impartial viewing is necessary in order to appraise the numerous technical values. Furthermore, a critic, sometimes feels totally inadequate to convey the emotions excited by a film. I can approach these emotions from some examples, but it is still beyond the power of my literary descriptions to convey the mental and physical performance of a character.
Transmutation of Other Arts
It has been admitted that the silent film is essentially an independent form of expression, drawing inspiration from other arts. With choreography it shares the power of movement; and with painting, mental communication through eye. The later dialogue films suggests comparison with the stage and its power of speech. Aesthetically, dialogue is in direct opposition to the medium, unless pure sound as distinct from the human voice is utilized from an impressionistic point of view.
But all art, whether painting, sculpture, music, poetry, drama, or film, has at base the same motive, which may be said to be the creation of a work in the presence of which an observer or listener will experience either pleasure or pain as the mood of the work demands. Whether the spectator be highly cultured or not, provided the creator of work has expressed clearly in his medium, the appeal is the same though the power must vary in accordance with the mental receptivity of the spectator.
For a film, it is this receptive power of the audience as a group, which the Americans or our Indians are trying to calculate, in order to render a work of art a popular success.
Dissecting The Emotions of A Audience
It should be remembered that the resources of the cinema, by which the good directors seek to gain their effect on the minds of the audience, act unconsciously. An average audience is naturally not expected to appreciate or even to become conscious of the montage of shots that appear before him on the screen, but he cannot help himself reacting to their content if they have been employed correctly.
There has not been as yet, however, any scientific inquiry into the emotional effect produced by films on the public. It is well known that the simplest effects on the human mind imply the most subtle causes, being much more difficult to achieve than complex effects.
Charlie Chaplin alone is a superb example of the individual appeal to the public. He has taken the trouble to think how and why audience throughout the world react to his individuality. All Chaplin films are brilliant instances of timing that have been effected only by analysis of the human mind.
A film is primarily a dynamic pattern or rhythm (achieved by the editing and cutting) imposed on nature. It is governed pictorially by the creation of visual images. Music and synchronized sound, used in counterpoint, heighten the emotions of the spectator aurally and subconsciously. It is said that "Art is not truth, it is not nature; it is a pattern or rhythm of design imposed on nature." And, I claim, this dynamic mental pictorialism called a film, is the most expressive art available to-day to a creative artist.