REPRESENTATION AND REALIT Y H OW D O F I L M S G O A B O U T R E P R E S E N T I N G R E A L I T Y ? A D A P T E D F R O M F I L M S T U D I E S : A N I N T R O D U C T I O N B Y E D S I KO V WHAT IS REPRESENTATION? • Consider the word “representation”. What does it mean (and what technology does it take) to represent real people or physical objects on film? • These are two of the most basic questions in Film Studies – why? REPRESENTING REALITY: ART AND LITERATURE • Do objects and people depicted in painting and literature need to have a physical reality? Why/why not? • You can paint a picture of a woman without using a model or even without having a specific real woman in mind. You can paint landscapes you’ve never actually seen. • Art can also be entirely nonrepresentational – just splashes of colour or streaks of black paint. • In literature, too, writers describe cities that never existed and people who never lived. • How does film differ from art and literature in terms of representing reality? REPRESENTATION AND REALITY IN FILM • Consider the fact that in classical world cinema, in all but a few rare cases, directors had to have something real to photograph with a film camera. • They may be actors wearing makeup and costumes, but they’re still real human beings. These actors may be walking through constructed sets, but these sets have a physical reality; walls that look like stone may actually be made of painted wood, but they are still real, material walls. • Consider animated films. How do directors create a physical reality akin to live action films? FILM FORM • When we talk about the form of an artwork, what does that actually mean? • In art, the shape and structure of the artwork; in film, all the specific techniques used by filmmakers to create expressive meaning. • This is how we recognise the meaning behind an artwork, piece of literature and film. • Every filmmaker is unique and uses different techniques to create their cinematic works. This course will show you how and why each film you watch (and your own films) are different and why those differences matter to the art form. You will learn to see the ways in which filmmakers express ideas and emotions with their cameras. SEEING THE ART This is one of the key aesthetic issues of Film Studies – learning to see that an apparently unmediated event (such as a sports match, concert etc.) is in fact a mediated work of art. At first glance, we tend not to see the mediation involved in the cinema; we don’t see the art. All we see – at first – is a representation of the physical reality of what has been photographed. But throughout the course, you will learn to see beyond this and make sense of how filmmakers go about representing this reality.