In Song For Marion’s previous article, we spoke about some great modern films that people should see. Now it is easy to talk about modern films, pick about the best ones, and talk about what makes them so good.
However, with much everything, it may be valuable to look back to our history and see how filmmaking has evolved. Films have continually been evolving.
When the camera was invented, movies were not a thing. It was only used to take pictures of people and other events. Then, the Lumiere brothers shot the first film ever. It was called “The Arrival of a Train”.
In this film, it just showcased a train coming in at a station, and people either getting on or off. The fact that people never saw moving pictures before (hence the term) was a feat in and of itself. Since then, there have been numerous other films that changed the whole landscape.
Let’s take a look at three iconic films that did just that.
Birth of a Nation
Birth of a Nation was a film made by D.W. Griffith in 1915. At the time, silent films were still the prevailing medium.
The film chronicled several events during the American Civil War. It covers several events such as when Abraham Lincoln was murdered as well as when the Ku Klux Klan was created.
The pro KKK sentiments of the movie do surround with a certain air of taboo and controversiality. Despite that though, the film was very successfully.
Apart from that though, the greatness of Birth of a Nation can be seen in its technical marvels. For one, it was one of the first films to have a narrative. Nowadays, films (mostly) have stories that people followed. Birth of a Nation started that. It was also the first film that ran for more than an hour, engaging its audience the whole time.
Griffith also established several facets of visual language through this film. The way the actors moved on stage, the way a certain event was shot, and the way the editing was put together were things being applied in this film. In many ways, these techniques are still used to this day.
A Trip to the Moon
A Trip to the Moon was a movie created by French filmmaker George Melies. Like the title suggests, it features a group of people’s trip to the moon via a bullet shot into space. Yes, you’ve read that right.
The film was created in 1902. Thus, there were no special effects yet to utilize. Instead, Melies used several practical effects that really pushed the boundaries of creativity in films.
This film is an instant classic and is a good film that truly shaped the landscape of film in terms of what can be achieved.
The Jazz Singer
Silent films were all the rage back in the day. In this era, personalities like Buster Keaton gained great renown. However, the next big step of film came to be: sound.
The first ever film to utilize sound was called the Jazz Singer. Before this film, the act of synchronizing film was a chore. That is until Jazz Singer came about.
Using the Vitaphone, they were able to synchronize voice and sound. The Jazz Singer was the first full-length film to have singing, music playing in the film, and talking.
When this film came out, it was the inevitable end of silent films.
With so many films out there, be sure to find more iconic and influential films throughout history. Without these films, cinema today would be radically different.