One of the great questions that pervades the understanding of cinema is simply this: What is its purpose? There are countless theories that attempt to answer it. Film theorists, like Rudolf Arnheim believed that film is art, in that it shouldn't (and doesn't) represent or replicate real life, whereas André Bazin thought films capture an "objective reality". Roger Ebert had his theories as well, and in a commentary on Dark City, he suggests that film isn't the medium to use when trying to express a logical and intellectual argument. Hit the jump to hear Ebert's thoughts on why cinema is an emotional medium.
There is so much to say about the many theoretical arguments concerning film, which will have to come at a later time, but suffice it to say that Ebert is not alone is his assertion that the very nature of film is the same as its purpose: emotional evocation.
I've always felt that movies are an emotional medium -- that movies are not the way to make an intellectual argument. If you want to make a political or a philosophical argument, then the ideal medium exists, and that medium is the printed word -- a movie is not a logical art form. When we watch a film, the director is essentially standing behind us and saying, "Look here," and "Look there," "Hear this," and "Hear that," and "Feel this," and "Feel the way I want you to feel." And we give up conscious control over our intelligence. We become voyeurs. We become people who are absorbed into the story, if the story is working. And it's an emotional experience.
You can hear his commentary below:
What do you think? Do you agree with Roger Ebert's stance that film is a more visceral experience than a logical one? Do you think films have both? What do you think the purpose of film is -- if it has one?