Just like photography, cinema would never exist without the invention of cameras… and technologies are invented either because they are intended to make our lives practically better or just for the sake of inventing.
And when people started using video cameras, they didn’t immediately make arts with them.
The oldest surviving film (emphasise on the word ‘surviving’) is the two-second long Roundhay Garden Scene, created in 1888; it simply depicts people wandering around in a garden. The first film which can be considered as arthouse is L’Inferno, released twenty three years later. Prior to that, narrative films were generally intended to impress the audience with groundbreaking special effects; resulting artistry was a bonus.
If I talk about Hollywood specifically, artistic integrity was not even mainstream before the 1960’s.
Many films from the Classical Hollywood era are plagued by escapism as shown by their black-and-white characters, avoidance of realism and straightforward narratives; the exaggerated acting and brazenly-artificial studio settings visually accentuate the theatricality and the absence of subtlety.
I don’t know how anyone can think Classical Hollywood is the most artistic Hollywood.
I have met people who believe so because the actors were supposedly skilled not only in acting, but also in singing and dancing. But, whether they are talented or not, I still don’t see how their talents guaranteed the artistic integrity of the off-screen crew members.
Maybe they confuse artistry with feel-goodism. I am inclined to believe so because I have met people who ‘think’ good films are ones that make them feel good about themselves and the world they live in.
It is a reasonable perspective if you are fucktarded snowflake who thinks the world owes you positive emotions 24/7.
If you want to see Hollywood at its most artistic, take a look the films of the American New Wave or Hollywood Renaissance* era which spanned the 60’s and 70’s, decades after the birth of the industry. It was an era in which directors, NOT the studio executives, were kings and they had the liberty to be gritty, countercultural and nuanced with their storytellings.
But, even then, American New Wave was not as idealistic as it seems.
In the 60’s, Hollywood was easily rivalled by TV and most movie-goers preferred the perceivably-superior European and Japanese films, compelling studio executives to finance more idealistic filmmakers. For a while, the decision was financially worth the risk.
Basically, even though the filmmakers did have artistic integrity, the same thing cannot be said about the executives. By the early 80’s, New Wave films were no longer profitable.. and studio executives quickly became the kings once again, consequentially putting an end to the era.
Mainstream films from this era are not substantially different from their present-time counterparts: they are all financed, promoted and distributed by utterly profit-oriented corporate businesspeople.
No matter how artistic they are, they are still commercial products… and the same thing can be said regarding any commercially successful works of entertainment.
I used to think people who define cinema as nothing but an art form were petulant; even though the word ‘cinema’ already has its own objective definition, they create their own and present them as the only correct ones.
Now, I don’t think it has something to do with petulance. Those people are simply historically illiterate about the thing they love.
But, I will still call them petulant, anyway. It is fun to insult people and make enemies out of them.
Yes, I am aware of the hypocrisy.
*I deliberately did not use New Hollywood. Even though it seems to be the widely used name, I am not a fan of it because the adjective may leads to confusion due to its broadness.
Donate to this deadbeat, preachy blogger on Patreon.