During Wednesday’s seminar class, we were privileged to have Professor Diaz speak to us about film and all the effort that is invested in movie-making. I have been told in my previous schools that movies are a waste of time and distracting, and so I found it interesting to see that movies can be a form of art in many ways. Just like artists have a reason behind every brush stroke, and a poem contains meaning beneath every word, there can be a deeper significance behind the different aspects of a movie that contribute to its meaning.
Firstly, the use of black and white, or color quality, is often symbolic. In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy leaves the drab black-and -white Kansas to enter the vibrant, colorful Oz. Another example of this can be the older version of The Secret Garden; when I was forced to watch this with my grandmother, I noticed that most of the movie was filmed in black and white, but Mary’s garden was colorful. This clever technique makes the garden seem special and exotic. The movie Manhattan was also filmed in black and white. When I first saw the movie, I thought that the use of black and white made the city seem grand. It is said that people often dream in black and white, and so the lack of color gives New York a dream-like quality. However, in class we spoke about how color can be distracting and so the use of black and white got the point of the movie across more effectively.
Furthermore, the zoom of the lens contributes to the emotions and feeling of the film. Long shots were used to show where the characters are, and there was a medium zoom when the characters were having an intimate dinner. During emotional parts of the movie, the camera shoots close up. This allows the audience to connect to the character’s feelings and witness his facial expressions. When Isaac broke up with Tracy, the cameras zoom in on her face so we are able to focus on her pain exclusively.
I hope that I will be able to use the information that we discussed in class to analyze the movies that I will watch in the future. I realize that movies do not have to be a waste of time, and can be considered art, just like any painting or poem.