Friday, October 26, 2007

Watching Film

I love films. There are some movies that I enjoy, but I love films. The difference is not just in the content of the story, but how the story is told. Too often Christian reviews of film get stuck on the plot and then try to show how that agrees or disagrees with Scripture. The worldview of the narrative certainly matters, but how that worldview is expressed specifically through the medium of film also matters—and it matters greatly. A good filmmaker can tell you more through non-verbal expression than the actual dialogue can. To understand what the director is saying through his craft, you need to understand some basic elements of his tools—lighting, framing, camera angles, color, sound, symbolism, etc. The story is but one layer of the total expression.

A skilled director shows the audience what to think about a character by how they are presented on screen and in a manner that is often absorbed subconsciously. As the characters are thus presented, the story itself gains levels of meaning and symbolism well beyond the actual words spoken. Film is a specific art and it tells a story in a unique manner. The story is a great place to start in understanding the worldview of a film, but the art of the filmmaker transforms that narrative into something different than what a play or book portrays. Part of the beauty of a good film is a film that understands how to be a film in how it tells a story.

1 comment:

Kathryn Shryer said...

Hi Mr. Wilbur-
I really enjoy reading your posts on film, always something to think about. Do you have a book or books you'd recommend to someone who is very interested in film, kind of along the lines of what you are saying in this post?
thanks.