In the sequence we analyzed from The Birth of a Nation, for example, Griffith breaks down the action of Flora filling the bucket with spring water into three separate shots, emphasizing, through the use of an inserted close-up, the action of her dipping the bucket into the spring. The close-up gives the moviegoer a privileged intimacy with the action in a manner that would be impossible for the spectator in the theater. Match cutting was important to Griffith because he wanted the viewer to remain mentally immersed in the dramatic action, in a state of mind that would be disrupted if the viewer were to become aware of the medium through jerky or mismatched shots.
In fact, he was adamantly opposed to films that slavishly tried to maintain the illusionism of realistic theater by smoothly joining shots. Eisenstein held that proper film continuity should not proceed smoothly, but through a series of shocks. Eisenstein felt that a work of art would have more power if it was structured according to these same dialectical principles, involving a continual clash of opposites.
Hence, he imbued his films with conflict, starting at the most fundamental graphic level. Eisenstein created optical conflicts by juxtaposing shots whose graphic elements visually contrasted. For example, he followed an extreme long shot of the citizens of Odessa running down the stairs figure 5 with an extreme close-up of the legs of a man on the verge of falling figure 6.
Eisenstein, who was striving to move his audiences without letting them relax into illu-. Eisenstein created visual conflicts in numerous other ways: He edited pieces of film so that the directional movements within juxtaposed shots clashed. That is, a shot of a crowd running in the direction of screen left would clash in the next shot with an image of the crowd running in the direction of screen right.
A shot lit somberly would be juxtaposed with a shot lit brightly. An image of organized, purposeful movement would contrast in the next shot with an image of irregular, chaotic movement. See figures 7 and 8. A shot compositionally designed to emphasize vertical vectors or lines would be juxtaposed with a shot organized horizontally. Diagonal lines tending toward the left would clash in the next shot with diagonal lines tending right.
Let us concentrate on the line of movement.
Part 3: Cinematography
There is, before all else, a chaotic close-up rush of figures. And then, as chaotic, a rush of figures in long-shot. Then the chaos of movement changes to a design: the rhythmic descending feet of the soldiers. Tempo increases. Rhythm accelerates. Break-neck speed. And then suddenly: A lone figure. Slow solemnity. But—this is only for an instant. Once more we experience a returning leap to the downward movement.
The clashing movements and rhythms of the montage pieces keep the spectator disturbed and off balance, just like a fleeing citizen of Odessa. Eisenstein believed so strongly in the power of graphic conflict to add visual excitement and drama to his films that he even composed his individual shots with intraframe contrasts in mind.
That is, he created conflicts not just between juxtaposed shots but within each individual shot as well. A famous example of intraframe graphic conflict occurs. Figure 5. An extreme long shot of the people running down the Odessa Steps. The Battleship Potemkin, , Sovexport Films. Figure 6.
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A big close-up of a pair of legs creates a visual conflict with the previous shot figure 5. Figure 7. The purposeful, organized movement of the soldiers. Figure 8. The chaotic, disorganized movements of the victims, in studied juxtaposition with figure 7. Figure 9. See figure 9. While Griffith composed his shots primarily according to the meaning each shot conveyed through the action within the shot, Eisenstein believed that emotional effects derived not just from the content of the shot but also from the way the shot was graphically composed.
At the beginning of the Odessa Steps massacre we see a young woman with dark bobbed hair react to what we later realize is her first sight of the soldiers marching in rank and firing on the crowd. The shots of the woman are all the more disconcerting because Eisenstein has broken another rule of standard film continuity: He has reversed the order of cause and effect.
Rather than showing us shots of the soldiers firing and then the woman reacting, Eisenstein shows us the terrified reaction before he reveals the cause. There is something particularly unsettling when we see someone react in horror before we know what the source of the horror is. It sends our imaginations into high gear as we try to fathom the reason for the reaction. Thus, when Griffith cut to closer shots of the action for dramatic emphasis, the viewer had a clear mental picture of offscreen space. The soldiers from the South are always on screen left, while the soldiers from the North are always on screen right.
In the first place, we are never given an establishing shot of the Odessa Steps in their entirety. Mostly we experience the steps in fragmented pieces: shots of masses of people rushing down the steps interspersed with close shots of individuals and shots of the faceless soldiers relentlessly advancing and firing their guns. We are never given a clear sense of where anyone is in relation to anyone else.
By refusing to orient the spectator in a coherent screen space, Eisen-. The lack of spatial orientation on the Odessa Steps works because it compels spectators to experience something of the same mental confusion and loss of bearings that the people on the steps suffer. In this way, through his editing technique, Eisenstein transfers the panic of the people on the steps to the spectator. Eisenstein takes as many liberties with his presentation of time as he does with his presentation of space in the Odessa Steps sequence, again creating powerful effects.
In an actual count, the Odessa Steps number steps, and, one might estimate that if people were being fired at, they would vacate the steps in well under a minute of actual time. Eisenstein extends the time to over five excruciating minutes. The primary way he extends time is through the repetition of some of the same shots. When one closely observes the sequence, one notices that some of the shots of the people fleeing en masse, as well as shots of the soldiers firing, are in fact repeats of the same shots. Because we are not given an establishing shot of the Odessa Steps and have no idea of their extent, Eisenstein can draw out the duration of the action as long as he wishes through shot repetition and continual crosscutting.
In any case, Eisenstein was not striving to give us a literal, realistic picture of the massacre on the steps. Through his innovative, time-expanding film technique, he conveys the subjective reality of what it would feel like to be trapped in a traumatic situation that seemingly goes on forever. In the Odessa Steps sequence Eisenstein creates the time-space continuum of a nightmare from which there is no waking.
The horror on the Odessa Steps culminates when the mother with the infant in the baby carriage is shot. Here Eisenstein plays simultaneously on two primal fears: the fear of an infant being abandoned by a mother and the fear of a mother who realizes she is helpless to protect her infant. Eisenstein drastically expands the screen time given to this moment to etch it forever in our memories. He cuts to mounted Cossacks at the bottom of the steps slashing out at the fleeing populace, to images of the soldiers continuing their deadly march down the steps, to long shots of masses of citizens fleeing the troops.
Four times Eisenstein cuts to the wheels of the baby carriage teetering on the edge of the steps to prolong the suspense of whether or not it will be pushed over the edge by the body of the dying mother. Eisenstein shoots the scene from behind the mother as she gets dangerously close to the soldiers, who appear at the top of the frame.
The steps are dissected by a path of bright light on either side of which are strewn the bodies of the slaughtered people of Odessa. As the woman ascends, her body casts a shadow into the path of light. See figure The very next shot is taken from a reverse angle. Now the camera is looking down at the mother and child from behind the soldiers who are offscreen but whose elongated shadows loom menacingly in front of them on the steps. The effect here is compositionally brilliant, symbolically rich the mother is walking into the shadow of death , but logically impossible.
The two shots, arguably two of the most memorable in the film, directly contradict one another from the standpoint of realism. For the mother to cast a shadow before her in the first shot and then, an instant later, walk into the shadows cast by the soldiers, the sun would have had to have spun around degrees in the sky. These two most mismatched of shots illustrate once more that Eisenstein was not interested in achieving realistic effects in his films.
He conceived his films as made up of autonomous attractions, highly charged moments fascinating in and of themselves, with an undercurrent of pathos for polemical intent. A sleeping marble lion suddenly rises up. According to Eisenstein, the image of the lion leaping up was intended to. Figure As a woman carrying a sick child ascends the steps, her body casts a shadow into the path of light before her. Eisenstein achieved this effect by editing together shots of three marble lions—one asleep, one awakening, and one fully aroused, which in actuality were nowhere near the vicinity of the Odessa Steps.
Yet this animated stone lion, created from a composite of film fragments, lives in the memory of those who see the film as an outraged witness to the Odessa Steps massacre. Such is the power of associative montage. MURNAU At the same time that Eisenstein was experimenting with the capacity of editing or montage to give heightened emotional and political impact to his filmed narratives, the German filmmaker F.
Murnau was concentrating on the potentials of the enframed image, the way specific photographic effects could add psychological expressiveness to the profilmic action. Like many of his contemporaries working in the German film industry in the s and s, Murnau was influenced by Expressionism, the art movement that dominated German painting, literature, theatrical production and acting in the early twentieth century. At the same time Expressionism sets itself against Naturalism with its mania for recording mere facts, and its The objects of the natural world have become threatening, unnatural.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, , Film Preservation Associates. The world is there for all to see; it would be absurd to reproduce it purely and simply as it is. The Expressionist artists sought to abstract, distort, and hence transcend the look of everyday reality in order to represent the world—not objectively, but as the artist sees or experiences it.
But German filmmakers nevertheless managed to incorporate the visual motifs and themes of Expressionism into their works. Caligari accomplished this goal by photographing its action against a background of recognizably painted Expressionist sets that weirdly distort. Buildings lean, bend, or rear themselves straight up, against the usual lines. The everyday artifacts that form the world we make to shelter and comfort us have been transformed into the unstable, unbalanced, unsound. In describing the sets of The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, William Nestrick conveys the visual impact of the stylized sets by focusing on their radical transformation of the natural and man-made world figures 12 and They are recognizable representations of nature, but they have become unnatural.
They violate principles of growth; on the hillside, they do not grow in the position in which trees usually grow. Most are denuded of leaves, and where they have leaves, the leaves look like spears. They threaten, they point, they seem to cut even as they themselves are cut. Something has also happened to the architectural world. Buildings lean, bend, or rear themselves straight up against the usual lines. Everywhere the right angle is rejected, the very angle that, in the simplest structures, makes for stability, balance, soundness.
Everyday artifacts, the world we make to shelter and comfort us, have been transformed into the unstable, unbalanced, unsound. For Murnau, Caligari was both an inspiration and a dead end as a model for cinematic art. It was an inspiration because it abandoned the slavish imitation of a real, objectively perceived world to present a subjective vision. Hence, it did not fully exploit the expressive possibilities inherent in the cinematic medium.
Without his uniform, he becomes the object of mockery and scorn. Murnau films Jannings in close-ups and from slightly below, emphasizing his feelings of pride and self-importance. He realized that, in general, if the subject is seen from a high angle that is, the camera is shooting from above and thus down at the subject the character will appear humbled or diminished. If, on the contrary, the subject is seen from below that is, the camera is looking up at the subject , the character will appear imposing and confident.
At the beginning of the film, before he is demoted from his position of doorman, Murnau films Jannings in close-ups and slightly from below, emphasizing his feelings of pride and self-importance. When he is obliged to unload a heavy trunk from a carriage, we see him looking up at the intimidating object. Murnau photographs him from a high angle the camera shooting down at him to emphasize his feelings of diminishment.
Then we see the trunk, from his point of view. Shot from a low angle, it seems all the more burdensome. Finally the camera shoots down at the doorman to emphasize his struggle to lift it off the carriage. In order to project the inner feelings of the doorman, Murnau often presents his world not as it is but as he sees it, distorted by his anxious. Jannings photographed in long shot from a high angle, looking up at an intimidating heavy trunk. The angle and shot type emphasize his feeling of diminishment.
On his way home, after he has lost his job as a doorman, a building sways precariously as if it is about to fall on him and crush him. So as not to lose his status with his neighbors, he steals his old uniform from the hotel and continues to wear it home from work. As he is about to leave for work in the morning wearing his stolen uniform, he encounters a woman on the landing outside his door.
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She gazes at him admiringly. Her adoring manner is based not on real affection but on her inflated conception of his importance. When The Last Laugh was made, most directors shot their actions with a static camera, employing camera movement only to make action scenes more exciting. Eisenstein mounted a camera on tracks that extended the length of the Odessa Steps so that he could intensify the effect of the spectacle of the fleeing citizens by following their movement down the stairs with his camera.
In The Last Laugh, the camera is in motion from the beginning to the end of the film, often adding a subtle psychological dimension to the action. The film begins with a stunning moving camera shot: The camera descends in an elevator, and when the door to the lift opens, it heads out. This shot was obtained by strapping the camera on the chest of the cameraman, who then rode out into the lobby on a bicycle. The camera then takes us through a revolving door to the front of the hotel where the doorman is on duty.
Here the camera movement is more than just a virtuoso display of film technique. The dynamic movement through the hotel lobby emphasizes the spaciousness of the hotel and thereby magnifies our sense of its grandeur. When the camera movement finally ends on the doorman, we understand in a flash the grandiose self-importance he absorbs from his association with such a place. On the contrary, we had found a new and more exact way of isolating the image, and of intensifying dramatic incident. He has gotten drunk at the wedding party of his niece the night before and has apparently forgotten about his demotion to bathroom attendant.
As he approaches the hotel, we see through his point of view an image of the doorman who has replaced him standing at his post in front of the hotel. The shot begins as a long shot of the new doorman and is slightly out of focus. When another neighbor woman7 discovers the doorman at his lowly new post as bathroom attendant, the moment is given striking dramatic emphasis by a camera movement.
We see a shot of the old man taken from outside the bathroom as he timidly opens the lavatory door and peers out to determine who has come to see him. At this point there is a POV shot of the neighbor woman who has come to bring him lunch looking back at him. As she opens her mouth to scream the camera lunges toward her until we see her face in an extreme close-up, framing only her eyes and nose. As he sits down in a chair, he begins to start reeling through space. This effect was achieved by placing Jannings on a turntable device that swung back and forth, and then following his movement with the camera.
Then we see a POV shot of the room spinning around. Here the cameraman Freund staggered about the room like a drunken man with the camera affixed to his chest. Shortly thereafter, the ex-doorman falls asleep and dreams he still has his old job at the hotel. In his dream he effortlessly lifts an enormous trunk from the top of a hearselike coach and parades with it into the hotel lobby.
To the enthusiastic applause of hotel staff and patrons, he repeatedly tosses the trunk into the air and catches it with one hand. The dream is obviously a wish-fulfilling denial of reality. The trunk overpowered him, sealing his fate as a lavatory attendant. At first this shot seems to be a subjective shot: that is, the admiring faces of the patrons are apparently seen from the point of view of the dreamer.
But, suddenly, the camera pulls back to capture the dreamer objectively. Here the shift from a subjective to an objective perspective within one shot cinematically re-creates the experience common in dreams that one is simultaneously experiencing an event and watching oneself having the experience. As the dream fades out, a momentary superimposition of dream im-. These images abruptly disappear when the neighbor woman who subsequently discovers the doorman at work enters his room and shuts the window, suggesting that the sound of her action finally arouses him from sleep.
This is one of many ways in which Murnau uses a visual device to bring sound to the silent medium of film. So adept was Murnau at conveying everything that needed to be conveyed through images—even sounds—that he was able to construct an utterly compelling ninety-minute story about the mental deterioration of an old man using only one written title.
The grandeur of the city created through special effects—the use of model shots and forced perspective. The look of The Last Laugh set a new standard of lighting and art design for film, and is still impressive today. Especially striking is the design of the grand hotel situated in the center of a large bustling city. So glorious are the hotel and city in The Last Laugh that shortly after the film appeared in America Murnau received a telegram from someone in Hollywood who deplored the fact that America had no city to compare with the grandeur of the one in The Last Laugh.
The splendor of the city was created through special effects—the use of model shots and forced perspectives. In her book on Murnau, Eisner includes an account by one of the set designers, Robert Herlth, to explain how it was done see figure The use of the expressive, unchained camera and special photographic effects, combined with stunning sets and lighting techniques, all in the service of telling a complex story focusing on interior feelings rather than exterior actions, made The Last Laugh seem to many film theorists and critics of the time the ultimate example of film as high art, equal or superior in its evocative power to drama and literature.
Murnau or Sergei Eisenstein, and his films make an instructive contrast with theirs. The majority of the shots are static long shots or medium shots with only occasional close-ups for dramatic emphasis. The editing is mostly invisible, because the shots are linked together to convey the narrative smoothly, not to make a comment, create a striking visual contrast, or to distort real time and space for dramatic effect. The lighting is universally high key,11 and the camera, if it moves at all, usually does so just slightly, to reframe the action. There are no expressive camera angles or camera movements, no superimposition of images, no distorting optical effects, nor any fancy forced-perspective sets.
Yet, despite their lack of obviously artful cinematic techniques, these early films are considered by many critics to be minor masterpieces. They are watched today with as much pleasure as when they first appeared. That is, the impression on the celluloid emulsion is the direct effect of light beams that bounced off the subject when the shutter of the camera was opened.
According to Bazin, photography finally satisfies the human demand, based on an unconscious desire for immortality, for a process which can permanently fix, order, and possess the natural world by literally capturing its image through an impersonal, scientific process. Obviously someone has to choose an image and frame it. But, because the recording or capturing of the photographic image is so complete and total, in contrast to the sloppy, partial, biased way in which the human eye processes the world, photography makes it possible for reality to reveal itself in an extraordinarily vivid and profound new way.
Bazin writes:. Bazin felt filmmakers associated with the Soviet school of montage, for all their clever and ingenious experiments with film editing, perverted film art, because rather than allowing the medium its unique revelatory dimension, their studied shot juxtapositions forced the photographed images to take on a predigested significance.
Bazin goes so far as to argue that there is a fascist dimension to montage style because, like a dictator, the director controls everything the viewer sees by chopping up the world into fragments and recombining them in a tendentious way.
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Arguing against those Soviet filmmakers who believed that editing is the foundation of film art, Bazin cites examples in which heavy editing or montage would simply be the wrong approach to certain subject matters. To present a powerful and convincing record of this event, Bazin argues, Flaherty had to show Nanook and the seal together, in the same frame, during the entire act of harpooning, in one long take, without editing.
If he had broken the scene down into numerous short shots culminating when Nanook drags the harpooned seal out of the water, the scene would lack credibility. We might even suspect that the event was faked. Flaherty however confines himself to showing the actual waiting period; the length of the hunt is the very substance of the image, its true object. Thus in the film this episode requires one set-up.
He did not want cinema to return to the days before Griffith established the conventions of film as a narrative art. He was aware that the close-up was needed to emphasize what otherwise would not be noticed, and that crosscutting heightened the drama of the story. He simply called into question the belief that fancy montage and manipulation. He suggested that a more self-effacing directorial style, in which the art seems—but not necessarily is—artless, results in a work that is truer to the intrinsic qualities of the film medium.
Bazin favored films created in what has come to be called realist style. Here, I want to emphasize, I am talking about formal realism, the style in which the film is shot, as opposed to the realism of the content of the images. The Battleship Potemkin, for example, is considered a realist film due to its location shooting and use of nonprofessional actors, but in style it is an expressionist film as I use the term expressionist in this book because of the expressive function of its complicated montage. In a realist film the emotional content comes primarily from the profilmic event.
Films shot in the realist style favor long takes that sometimes last up to and over sixty seconds, in contrast to the montage style of directors such as Eisenstein, Vertov, and Pudovkin in the s, whose shots average from three to four seconds each and often last less than a fraction of a second.
As mentioned above, realist films strive for invisible editing, which moves the narrative forward through smooth, unobtrusive match cuts, not cuts that deliberately call attention to themselves because their juxtaposition makes some kind of political point or creates an impact through graphic conflict. They use close-ups and extreme close-ups sparingly, preferring to employ the medium shot. In realist compositions, objects spill over the edges of the frame, calling attention to offscreen space.
Realist directors conceive of the frame as a window that only temporarily hides a part of the world, as opposed to a picture frame whose lines demarcate the limits of a carefully composed, patently artistic composition. Since Chaplin was a great comic actor, and his performance. Much of the art of a Chaplin film resides in the careful shaping and structuring of the profilmic event, the complex comic actions that Chaplin devised and performed for the camera to record. Watching him move offers some of the same pleasure we receive from ballet.
So much is going on within every shot, moreover, that there is always something new for the spectator to observe in subsequent screenings. The shot under analysis is photographed in one long take that lasts forty-seven seconds with no cuts. The shot under analysis occurs just after Purviance, who has asked her rescuer to be a guest in her house, invites him out onto the veranda to meet her party guests. The shot begins with her introducing Charlie to some ladies.
Rather than bowing, Charlie curtsies,18 first with one leg behind him and then the other. The girl then formally introduces him to Campbell. Charlie politely offers to shake hands, but Campbell puts his hands behind him and turns his back on Charlie with disdain. This is apparently so satisfying that Charlie does it again. She is outraged. The bully is mortified. Chaplin looks scandalized.
Eyeing Campbell with a look of moral disapproval, he escorts the girl into the house. The mother fearfully backs away from the bully as he bows deeply to apologize, giving Charlie a perfect target for one last kick. Chaplin also deliciously turns a convention of polite society bowing into an opportunity for aggression. The comic success of this sequence is enhanced because we see it in one unbroken take.
It is amusing to see all the kicking going on while the other guests on the veranda are engaged in polite party conversation and somehow do not seem to notice. These actions could not have been conveyed as convincingly if the action had been heavily edited. We need to see the sequence in its entirety to believe it.
It is much more difficult to sustain a complicated comic action that goes on for 47 seconds than it is to divide the action up into units of short shots and edit the shots together. Because Chaplin for the most part and I will discuss some of the exceptions later refused to rely on editing or camera tricks in the creation of his comic actions, it often took him retake after retake to get everything to go exactly right.
At the time they were made, this was an extraordinary amount of money for a two-reeler a. The comic success of this sequence is enhanced by our seeing it in long shot and in one unbroken take. The Adventurer, , Film Preservation Associates. The medium shots and medium-close shots which Chaplin frequently employs allow us to see subtle facial expressions that even people in the first row at a theater might miss. The cinematic medium also allowed Chaplin to exercise his talents for comic improvisation in a vastly larger arena than the stage could offer. Because the camera can go anywhere, all the world became his stage.
Charlie avoids capture by running up and down steep cliffs, kicking prison guards over the edges of cliffs, and disappearing into seaside caves. Even the ocean is enlisted for a laugh when a giant wave helps him escape by engulfing the boat of his pursuers. Most of his shots are long, full, or medium long shots, but occasionally he uses close-ups to create a joke. First he notices he is wearing striped pajamas and then he notices the bars at the back of his bed an unfortunate detail of the headboard.
We know from his expression that he thinks for a moment he is back in. The gag in this shot that Charlie thinks he is back in prison only works thanks to the tight framing of the shot. If this shot were less tightly framed, it would be too obvious that Charlie was in a bedroom, not a prison, and the sight gag would not work. Perhaps the most important function of the editing in The Adventurer is to give a quick comic pace to the action. Every shot lasts just long enough for the spectator to get the point, and not an instant more.
The cutting, that is, functions to eliminate all dead time, or any action that is neither vital to the plot nor funny. A particularly good example of this occurs soon after Charlie has escaped from the prison guards by swimming out to sea. Having found a safe haven on the shore, he hears a cry for help and immediately jumps back into the water. This shot is followed by a shot of the drowning mother. Immediately, Charlie swims into the shot. The time it took him to swim out to the mother after he jumped into the water is eliminated through editing.
On the stage, such elimination of dead time is impossible because the action, by necessity, takes place in real time and space. While the editing pace of The Adventurer is not as fast and furious as the editing pace of The Battleship Potemkin, it does accelerate substan-. Here, the pace of the action is also quickened by the use of accelerated or fast-motion photography achieved by photographing the action at a lower number of frames per second than the projection speed , another effect specific to the cinema.
Finally, the editing in The Adventurer creates surreal effects impossible to achieve on the stage. Thus a boat that does not appear on the beach in previous shots suddenly appears when the prison guards need to pursue the convict, who has escaped into the ocean. Similarly, the newspaper picture of the convict materializes out of nowhere. The table on which it appears had only a fruit bowl on it in the previous shots. These sudden and surprising appearances of objects also resemble Warner Brothers cartoons in which the dynamite, the bomb, or box of matches is always conveniently at hand, even in the most remote settings.
Such effects are possible only in the film medium and would be impossible to achieve on the stage. While Chaplin for the most part created his comedy without camera tricks, he does rely on them in a few additional places in The Adventurer. In the opening sequence of the film, he combines accelerated motion with reverse action when Charlie miraculously escapes the prison guards by sliding up a hill.
This was accomplished by shooting him sliding down the hill but then printing the action in reverse. Other of his camera tricks are more subtle. A gag in which ice cream goes down his pants, for example, would have been impossible to achieve without the help of a stopmotion camera trick. First we see Charlie awkwardly balancing a big scoop of ice cream on his spoon so he can drink the melted ice cream remaining in his bowl and then the ice cream falls down his pants.
When the action is projected on the screen it looks as if the ice cream has plopped from his spoon into his pants. As the above discussion demonstrates, a good deal of film art went into the making of The Adventurer. Only by looking very closely does one become aware of the cinematic techniques that heighten the comic effects. The realist style which Bazin preferred and which he created a theoretical system to justify does not call for a renunciation of the use of film techniques; Bazin just preferred that the film techniques that are used do not call attention to themselves.
Bazin called for a self-effacing style that downplays the use of film techniques and foregrounds the profilmic event, celebrating rather than denigrating film as a medium of mechanical reproduction. While some filmmakers have veered off toward a stark aesthetic realism Nagisa Oshima, Yasujiro Ozu, and Jim Jarmusch in Stranger than Paradise  come immediately to mind , whereas others Oliver Stone in JFK  and Natural Born Killers , Francis Coppola in Apocalypse Now , and, more recently, Darren Aronofsky in Requiem for a Dream  use the film medium in a highly expressionist way, the two aesthetics are blended in most contemporary films.
The expressionist and realist theories of what constitutes film art offer two compelling ways of looking at the potentials of the film medium. Fortunately, the use of one approach does not exclude the other, so we need not make a choice between them. Nearly every theater had installed sound equipment. They felt that the addition of synchronized sound especially in the form of spoken speech to film was a disaster that would destroy the cinema as a unique art form. Subsequently, I refer to this group as the early sound theorists. Music, in the form of live accompaniment by a piano, organ, or even a full-scale symphony orchestra, had always been a part of the cinematic experience, so the early sound theorists did not object to the synchronized addition of music, or even to the addition of sound effects.
Their enemy was the spoken word. In a similar vein, the art historian and film theoretician Rudolph Arnheim argued that because the image already speaks, there is no need for literal voices. Other early film theorists who were also filmmakers, such as Sergei Eisenstein, V. They deplored films that employed sound in a slavish, unimaginative way, by matching every sound to its on-screen source.
An even better way to add sound was to use it in counterpoint to the image, creating a clash, a felt disparity, between what was seen and what was heard. As the camera holds on the anguished face of Bessie Love, whose lover has just departed, the offscreen sound of his car door shutting and the car driving away is heard on the sound track.
Pudovkin and Grigori Alexandrov suggested another compromise. They signed a manifesto in championing the contrapuntal use of sound as a way to extend the culture of montage which they had painstakingly pioneered. Pudovkin gives an example from his own film Deserter of how the use of contrapuntal sound can powerfully convey an idea through a montage of sound and image. The workers set out with great purposefulness, but are brutally beaten back by the police. The conventional way to create a score for the sequence, Pudovkin explains, would be to match the mood of the image to the mood of the music: cheerful march music to accompany the optimism at the beginning stages of the demonstration, ominous music when the police appear, and music of despair when the demonstration is defeated.
But this is not how the sound is in fact structured in the film. Instead, Pudovkin tells us, the score was written, played, and recorded so that the music gradually grew in power, with a note of stern and confident victory constantly running through it, and uninterruptedly rising in strength from beginning to end. By this contrapuntal clash of sound and image triumphant music is juxtaposed with defeated workers , Pudovkin was able to convey in a subtle, but strongly emotional manner an ideological point: History is on the side of the workers, so that even in defeat lies a hidden victory. Physical losses only strengthen moral resolve.
Bazin, as was discussed in chapter 3, celebrated film for its ability to mechanically record images of the world. A well-written line of dialogue can convey information which the silent filmmaker could only express in an intertitle or through an often torturously ingenious series of explanatory images, both of which techniques awkwardly slow down the story.
Reisz, who occupies a position somewhere between early and modern sound theory, concedes that even films that rely heavily on dialogue can still be good films. Synchronized speech in a film not only conveys concepts and ideas that would be cumbersome to express in silent film, but the quality of the speech— its pitch, volume, degree of nasality, whether or not the voice has an accent— can strongly affect the way we perceive the speaker, adding layers and nuances of meaning and expressiveness impossible to convey through gestures or facial expressions alone.
The sound of her voice makes her suddenly no longer appear beautiful. Michel Chion, the ultimate modern sound theorist, goes so far as to argue in Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen that sound is in fact more important than the image in determining the effect of a film. He argues that sound influences our perception of images. According to Chion, we notice different things in the same image when it is accompanied by different sounds, and sounds can make us notice otherwise insignificant elements of an image.
Although the film was an adaptation of a Broadway play, and a great deal of our pleasure in the film derives from the clever, fast-paced dialogue, it is anything but filmed theater. A close analysis of just a few sequences from His Girl Friday proves the argument of modern sound film theorists that the addition of sound to film, even in films. The plot of His Girl Friday involves a battle of the sexes between Walter Burns Cary Grant , the editor of a major metropolitan newspaper, and Hildy Johnson Rosalind Russell , his ex-wife and ex-employee she was his ace reporter , who divorced Walter because he always put the newspaper before her.
The rapidly moving camera, combined with the rapid overlapping dialogue of men and women purposefully, if somewhat frantically, at work, perfectly expresses the excitement of this world, the thrill of living life in the fast lane. An almost imperceptible dissolve11 takes us to shot 2, a medium-close shot of women busily operating a switchboard. The camera pauses on them briefly and then follows a reporter on his way out of the newsroom who just catches an elevator on the way down. Her language, moreover, is rich in irony and verbal play, confirming her identity as a lover of words, a born writer.
Her speech. Hildy stops, turns around and walks back to Bruce, the camera following her movement until she and Bruce are framed in a static medium two shot. One can imagine that if someone like Humphrey Bogart delivered it with the right intonation, it would sound sexy. A dynamic woman like Hildy, we imagine, will not be charmed by such devotion for very long. In addition, the close-up on Bruce in which Hildy obliges Bruce to repeat his sentimental words seems to skewer him in his embarrassment.
He hangs his head and casts down his eyes. The jaunty hat and stunning, matching zigzag design on her suit visually establish her as a dynamic, powerful person unsuited pun intended to a partner as bland as Bruce appears to be. Once Hildy is back in the newspaper world, her verbal playful-. The jaunty hat with the matching zigzag design of her suit defines Hildy as a dynamic and powerful woman, and not a fit mate for the bland Bruce.
The fundamental incompatibility of Bruce and Hildy so carefully set up aurally and visually in this scene is further reinforced in the next scene between Hildy and Walter. I have gone into these opening moments in detail in order to demonstrate how dialogue in conjunction with editing and dynamic camera movements work together to create a highly sophisticated and delightful melange of mixed messages.
Will Hildy ever come to realize her mistake? And if she does, how will she ever get out of her engagement to Bruce? At one point in the film, when the reporters are phoning in the news that Earl Williams, a man who is supposed to be hanged the next day, has escaped from jail, Hawks combines rapid-fire editing with rapid-fire dialogue, all in the service of viscerally conveying the adrenaline rush a newspaper reporter experiences when breaking a big story.
By overlapping dialogue, Hawks was able to eliminate all pauses between speakers, further speeding up the pace of the talk. Williams is very much awake, but a reporter phones in the news that he was completely unconscious when captured. Another reports that Williams broke through a whole cordon of police, when in fact only one policeman is involved in the arrest.
In the tradition of the best modern sound films, the respective contributions of cinematography, editing, and sound are truly equal and complementary. The American cinema is a classical art, but why not then admire in it what is most admirable, i. In order to create motion pictures on a mass scale, film production was highly sys-.
Rather than enslaving them or inhibiting their creativity, the limits of the system brought out their best. And from the moment that they were freed, they made shitty films. Below is a brief and necessarily simplified summary the book runs in excess of five hundred pages of the results of their research. The Hollywood cinema is first and foremost a psychological cinema. Its plots tend to focus on a central character, with clearly delineated psychological traits, whose desires motivate the action, setting off a chain of cause and effect.
Two lines of action often intermingle in the Hollywood film, one involving the public world success in a job, politics, art, etc. The ending of the Hollywood film, contrary to the impression.
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The plot does, however, end in closure, with all loose ends tied up, all questions the plot poses answered, and all mysteries solved. In the majority of Hollywood films, the ending seems inevitable, a definitive outcome of what we might expect, given the clearly delineated personality attributes of the protagonists. Thus defined, classical Hollywood films share a basic plot synopsis: they share certain characteristics of content. The cinematic style of the classical Hollywood film is just as well defined. In addition to the familiar glossy images, three-point lighting,18 and generally high production values, Hollywood style comes down to this: An illusion is carefully constructed to convey the impression that we are gazing into a threedimensional world that seems utterly real and unconstructed.
That is, the camera is not restricted to the point of view of one character or set of characters, but is free to move around in space to reveal information to the spectator that is not shared by the characters in the film. The action we see appears as an uninterrupted flow of life. In fact, it is constructed from multiple shots taken from many perspectives, whose order and selection are carefully chosen to enhance the dramatic and thematic effect of the film.
The illusion is created primarily through the match cut invisible editing and other techniques Griffith pioneered, which were discussed in chapter 1. Hence the seemingly artless artfulness of the Hollywood film. His Girl Friday has all the traits of the classical Hollywood film set forth above, and illustrates how a brilliant director like Howard Hawks. Two lines of action, one involving love and one involving work, are ingeniously intertwined. There is a heterosexual love plot Will Walter and Hildy get back together? The goals of the protagonists are clearly set forth at the beginning of the film: Hildy wants to break her ties to Walter and the newspaper by marrying Bruce, an insurance salesman, who will give her a conventional life as a wife and mother.
Walter wants Hildy back, as a newspaper reporter and a wife. The personalities of the protagonists are clearly delineated. We know in the first ten minutes that Hildy only thinks she wants to leave the newspaper to marry Bruce and have babies. Her true desire resides with Walter and the newspaper. Walter will do anything in his considerable power lie, cheat, shamelessly manipulate people to win Hildy back. There are not one but two deadlines in His Girl Friday, which puts the machine of the plot in high gear, lending it urgency: Hildy is getting married to Bruce the very next day, and Earl Williams is to be hanged at dawn.
Both of these deadlines are shortened as the film progresses. Walter learns not only that Hildy is getting married the very next day, but that she is leaving on a train with Bruce and his mother in the next few hours. How, we wonder, will Walter accomplish this task in so little time?
The urgency of deadlines in His Girl Friday is made even more compelling because time passes in this film at a quicker rate than it does in real life. When Bruce and Hildy exit the elevator at the beginning of the film, the clock behind them reads When Hildy returns to Bruce after her scene with Walter, a conversation that takes eleven-and-a-half minutes in real time with no time ellipses, the clock has jumped ahead to Twenty-two minutes of story time have elapsed in just over eleven minutes of real or screen time.
Time is rushing by at nearly twice the normal speed. This, we infer, is so Louie will be able to recognize Bruce, the better to pick his pocket later and return the check to Walter. Thus the spectator is given information that Bruce does not have. Interestingly, just before this scene, Hildy has called Bruce to advise him to keep the check not in his wallet but in his hatband. The battle of the sexes is launched. Walter will stoop to the lowest means to keep Hildy from leaving him and the newspaper, but Hildy, at this point, is one step ahead of him.
The first shot of the film, for example, a lateral tracking shot of the length of the newsroom, is joined to the second shot of the women at the switchboard by a dissolve, which smoothly blends one shot into the next. The smoothness of the cut is further enhanced because the camera tracks at the same speed in the two joined shots, thereby encouraging the spectator to concentrate on the uninterrupted flow of the camera movement and not on the cut.
Her action of walking away from the women at the switchboard in shot 2 is smoothly continued in the medium shot of Hildy in shot 3. Even when the cuts are not technically smooth or seamlessly matched, they are strongly motivated by the plot or a line of dialogue, and hence invisible. After Walter announces to the befuddled Bruce that he will be taking Bruce and Hildy to lunch, for example, the next shot is of the threesome arriving at their table at a restaurant.
A quick dissolve between the two shots also smoothes out the transition. But occasionally, the Hollywood film does call attention to its status as fiction,.
Hollywood comedies, as opposed to serious dramas and melodramas, are given more license to call attention to themselves as movies, not life, and Howard Hawks makes wonderful use of this license in two moments in His Girl Friday. At the end of His Girl Friday, as at the ending of most Hollywood films, there is closure. Everything is resolved. Hildy becomes aware that her true vocation in life is being a reporter and she and Walter plan to remarry. Walter and Hildy expose the mayor and sheriff as corrupt getting their scoop and hence succeeding in work as well as love.
Earl Williams gets a reprieve from the governor. Here the closure at the end of the film becomes literal. The conventions of the classical Hollywood film became relatively fixed because they offer us so much pleasure. The device of the deadline. As spectators identified with an omniscient point of view, gazing at people to whom we are invisible and about whom we have superior knowledge, we experience the feeling of having a power, perspective, and knowledge that we lack in life.
The closure at the end of a Hollywood film makes the world seem more just, predictable, logical, and often more hopeful than it is in fact. No wonder billions of people love Hollywood films. At the same time, if Hollywood conventions are adhered to too rigorously—if the characters are too predictable, the closure at the end too pat—Hollywood movies can seem silly or empty, too obviously escapist.
The best Hollywood directors were able to exploit the intrinsic appeal of established Hollywood conventions while injecting original or personal elements into their films, adding something of themselves to give their films an edge. The films we value most not only calm and reassure us, but unsettle and challenge us too, even or especially when they are comedies.
These groups tend to be cut off from society in general and in particular they exclude women, who, unless they prove themselves worthy of entry by behaving just like a man, are shunned as threats to the. The world Hawks creates in his screwball comedies is the inverse of his action-drama world. In the action-drama Only Angels Have Wings, for example, Cary Grant plays the tough-minded director of an airline specializing in deliveries to dangerous mountainous outposts. In the screwball comedy Bringing up Baby, he plays a befuddled scientist at the mercy of Katharine Hepburn, who runs rings around him.
A theme that is taken seriously in action-dramas like Only Angels Have Wings, that the presence of women will demoralize men and prevent them from pursuing their higher goals, is often treated with humor in the comedies. She fails to excite the interest of the Olympic team, but does attract a detective, hired to expose her friend Lorelei Marilyn Monroe as a gold digger. The crazy comedies, it would seem, give humorous expression to male fears about what a woman might do to them, as well as about themselves becoming too much like women, that motivate the need for allmale cliques in the action-dramas.
In His Girl Friday the all-male clique or enclave appears as the tightknit group of cynical newspapermen who play cards and crack jokes in the newsroom of the criminal courts building. When Adam fell, he lost the likeness, but the image remained fully intact. Humanity as humanity was still complete, but the good and holy being was spoiled. The image is just that, mankind is made in the image of God, whereas the likeness is a spiritual attribute of the moral qualities of God.
However, the medieval distinction between the "image" and "likeness" of God has largely been abandoned by modern interpreters. According to C. First, there is no "and" joining "in our image" with "after our likeness. It is common in speech and writing to repeat an idea using two different words to give reinforcement to the given idea.
In this case the author did not intend to distract us from the idea but rather to insert a focal point. Scholars still debate the extent to which external cultures influenced the Old Testament writers and their ideas. Mesopotamian epics contain similar elements in their own stories, such as the resting of the deity after creation. Christianity quickly came into contact with the philosophical trends and ideas of the Greek-speaking Mediterranean, as displayed in Acts. Some Christians argued that the Old Testament prophecies had prepared Jews for Christ, others argued that the classic philosophers also paved the way for Christian revelation for Gentiles.
Philosophy once again had a significant effect on Western Christian theology in medieval Europe after the re-discovery and translation of ancient texts. Aristotelian philosophy and an emphasis on applying rationality and reason to theology played a part in developing scholasticism, a movement whose main goals were to establish systematic theology and illustrate why Christianity was inherently logical and rational.
Reformation theologians , like Martin Luther , focused their reflections on the dominant role mankind had over all creation in the Garden of Eden before the fall of man. The Imago Dei, according to Luther, was the perfect existence of man and woman in the garden: all knowledge, wisdom and justice, and with peaceful and authoritative dominion over all created things in perpetuity. In the Modern Era, the Image of God was often related to the concept of "freedom" or "free will" and also relationality.
Emil Brunner , a twentieth century Swiss Reformed theologian, wrote that "the formal aspect of human nature, as beings 'made in the image of God", denotes being as Subject, or freedom; it is this which differentiates humanity from the lower creation. Paul Ricoeur , a twentieth century French philosopher best known for combining phenomenological description with hermeneutics, argued that there is no defined meaning of the Imago Dei, or at the very least the author of Genesis 1 "certainly did not master at once all its implicit wealth of meaning.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, " It is in Christ, "the image of the invisible God," that man has been created "in the image and likeness" of the Creator. Hence it means the capacity for relationship; it is the human capacity for God. Richard Middleton argued for a reassessment of the Biblical sources to better understand the original meaning before taking it out of context and applying it. In Christian theology there are three common ways of understanding the manner in which humans exist in Imago Dei : Substantive, Relational and Functional.
The substantive view locates the image of God within the psychological or spiritual makeup of the human being. This view holds that there are similarities between humanity and God, thus emphasizing characteristics that are of shared substance between both parties. Some proponents of the substantive view uphold that the rational soul mirrors the divine. What is important is that the substantive view sees the image of God as present in humanity whether or not an individual person acknowledges the reality of the image. The substantive view of the image of God has held particular historical precedence over the development of Christian Theology particularly among early Patristic Theologians see Patristics , like Irenaeus and Augustine, and Medieval Theologians, like Aquinas.
Irenaeus believes that the essential nature of humanity was not lost or corrupted by the fall, but the fulfillment of humanity's creation, namely freedom and life, was to be delayed until "the filling out the time of [Adam's] punishment. And we were in the likeness of God through an original spiritual endowment. While Irenaeus represents an early assertion of the substantive view of the image of God, the specific understanding of the essence of the image of God is explained in great detail by Augustine , a fifth century theologian who describes a Trinitarian formula in the image of God.
Augustine's Trinitarian structural definition of the image of God includes memory, intellect, and will. Augustine's descriptions of memory, intellect, and will held a dominant theological foothold for a number of centuries in the development of Christian Theology. Medieval theologians also made a distinction between the image and likeness of God. The former referred to a natural, innate resemblance to God and the latter referred to the moral attributes God's attributes that were lost in the fall.
Aquinas , a medieval theologian writing almost years after Augustine, builds on the Trinitarian structure of Augustine but takes the Trinitarian image of God to a different end. Like Irenaeus and Augustine, Aquinas locates the image of God in humanity's intellectual nature or reason, but Aquinas believes that the image of God is in humanity in three ways. First, which all humanity possess, the image of God is present in humanity's capacity for understanding and loving God, second, which only those who are justified possess, the image is present when humanity actually knows and loves God imperfectly, and thirdly, which only the blessed possess, the image is present when humanity knows and loves God perfectly.
Medieval scholars suggested that the holiness or "wholeness" of humankind was lost after the fall, though free will and reason remained. John Calvin and Martin Luther agreed that something of the Imago Dei was lost at the fall but that fragments of it remained in some form or another, as Luther's Large Catechism article states, "Man lost the image of God when he fell into sin. Furthermore, rabbinic Midrash focuses on the function of image of God in kingship language.
While a monarch is cast in the image or likeness of God to differentiate him ontologically from other mortals, Torah's B'reishit portrays the image as democratic: every human is cast in God's image and likeness. This leveling effectively embraces the substantive view and likens humankind to the earthly presence of God.
The rabbinic substantive view does not operate out of the framework of original sin. In fact, the account of Adam and Eve disobeying God's mandate is neither expressly rendered as "sin" in B'reishit, nor anywhere else in Torah for that matter. It is instead likened to a "painful but necessary graduation from the innocence of childhood to the problem-laden world of living as morally responsible adults.
Midrashim, however, finds common ground with the Thomist view of humanity's response to the image of God in the stories of Cain and Abel filtered through the, "Book of Genealogies" Gen Insofar as the image and likeness of God is transmitted through the act of procreation, Cain and Abel provide examples of what constitutes adequate and inadequate response to the image, and how that image either becomes fully actualized or utterly forsaken. The murder of Cain is cast as preempting the perpetuation of the image through Abel's potential descendants.
Midrashim interprets Gen as Abel's blood crying out not only to God, but also "against" Cain, which lays the onus squarely on Adam's firstborn. The relational view argues that one must be in a relationship with God in order to possess the 'image' of God. Those who hold to the relational image agree that humankind possess the ability to reason as a substantive trait, but they argue that it is in a relationship with God that the true image is made evident.
Later theologians like Karl Barth and Emil Brunner argue that it is our ability to establish and maintain complex and intricate relationships that make us like God. For example, in humans the created order of male and female is intended to culminate in spiritual as well as physical unions Genesis , reflecting the nature and image of God.
Since other creatures do not form such explicitly referential spiritual relationships, these theologians see this ability as uniquely representing the imago dei in humans. Archaeology discovered many texts where specific kings are exalted as "images" of their respective deities and rule based on divine mandate. With the rise of contemporary ecological concerns the functional interpretation of the image of God has grown in popularity. Some modern theologians are arguing for proper religious care of the earth based on the functional interpretation of the image of god as caregiver over created order.
Thus, exerting dominion over creation is an imperative for responsible ecological action. One of the strongest criticisms of the functional interpretation of the imago Dei is the negative message that it conveys about persons with disabilities. Within the functional view, it is often thought that disabilities which interfere with one's capacity to "rule," whether physical, intellectual, or psychological, are a distortion of the image of God.
The Imago Dei concept had a very strong influence on the creation of human rights. Glen H. Stassen argues that both the concept and the term human rights originated more than a half-century before the Enlightenment thinkers like John Locke. Imago Dei in reference to religious liberty of all persons was used by the free churches Dissenters at the time of the Puritan Revolution as an affirmation of the religious liberty of all persons. The concept was based not only on natural reason but also on the Christian struggle for liberty, justice, and peace for all.
The background of this struggle lay in the time of the English Revolution. The king had been alienating many Christians by favoring some churches over others. According to the scholar of Puritan literature William Haller, "the task of turning the statement of the law of nature into ringing declaration of the rights of man fell to Richard Overton. One of the themes that foreshadowed Richard Overton's reason for giving voice to human rights, especially the demand for separation of church and state , is implicitly connected to the concept of the image of God.
That the magistrate is not to force or compel men to this or that form of religion, or doctrine but to leave Christian religion free, to every man's conscience [ Any concept of human rights will therefore include: first, democratic relationships when humans rule others, cooperation and fellowship with other humans, cooperation with the environment, and the responsibility for future generations of humans created in God's image.
Judaism holds the essential dignity of every human. One of the factors upon which this is based is an appeal to Imago Dei: "the astonishing assertion that God created human beings in God's own 'image. Interpretation of the relationship between the Imago Dei and the physical body has undergone considerable change throughout the history of Jewish and Christian interpretation.
Old Testament scholars acknowledge that the Hebrew word for "image" in Genesis 1 selem often refers to an idol or physical image. The Apostle Paul at times displays both an appreciation for and a denial of the physical body as the image of God. An example of the importance of the physical body and the Imago Dei can be found in 2 Corinthians , in which Paul claims that Jesus Christ, in his entire being, is the image of God.
Paul states that in proclaiming Jesus, the renewal of the image of God is experienced, not just eschatologically but also physically cf. In 2 Corinthians , Paul states that Christians are "always carrying the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be made visible in our bodies. In sum, for Paul it seems that being restored in Christ and inheriting the Image of God leads to an actual corporeal change. As one changes internally, so too does one's body change. Thus, the change affected by Jesus envelopes one's entire being, including one's body. Many theologians from the patristic period to the present have relied heavily on an Aristotelian structure of the human as an inherently "rational animal," set apart from other beings.
This view was combined with Pre-Socratic notions of the "divine spark" of reason. Middleton contends that Christian theologians have historically relied more on extra-biblical philosophical and theological sources than the Genesis text itself. This led to an exclusion of the body and a more dualistic understanding of the image found in dominant Christian theology. Irenaeus was unique for his time in that he places a great deal of emphasis on the physicality of the body and the Image of God.
In his Against Heresies , he writes "For by the hands of the Father, that is by the Son and the Holy Spirit, man, and not a part of man, was made in the likeness of God. Further, because the Son is modeled after the Father, humans are likewise modeled after the Son and therefore bear a physical likeness to the Son. This implies that humans' likeness to God is revealed through embodied acts. Humans do not currently just exist in the pure image of God, because of the reality of sin.
Irenaeus claims that one must "grow into" the likeness of God. Because of sin, humans still require the Son's salvation, who is in the perfect image of God. Because we are physical beings, our understanding of the fullness of the image of God did not become realized until the Son took physical form. Further, it is through the Son's physicality that he is able to properly instruct us on how to live and grow into the full image of God. Jesus, in becoming physically human, dying a human death, and then physically resurrected, "recapitulated," or fully revealed, what it means to be in the Image of God and therefore bears the full restoration of our being in God's image.
By so doing, Jesus becomes the new Adam and through the Holy Spirit restores the human race into its fullness. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, a small population of theologians and church leaders have emphasized a need to return to early monastic spirituality. Thomas Merton , Parker Palmer , Henri Nouwen , and Barbara Brown Taylor , among others, draw from aspects of mystical theology, central to the Christian desert ascetics , in order to provide theological frameworks which positively view the physical body and the natural world.
Similarly, feminist thinkers have drawn attention to the alienation of the female experience in Christian thought. For two millennia, the female body has only been recognized as a means to separate women from men and to categorize the female body as inferior and the masculine as normative. The understanding of Imago Dei has come under new scrutiny when held up against the movement of transhumanism which seeks to transform the human through technological means.
Such transformation is achieved through pharmacological enhancement, genetic manipulation , nanotechnology , cybernetics , and computer simulation. Transhumanism's assertion that the human being exist within the evolutionary processes and that humans should use their technological capabilities to intentionally accelerate these processes is an affront to some conceptions of Imago Dei within Christian tradition.
In response, these traditions have erected boundaries in order to establish the appropriate use of trashumanisic technologies using the distinction between therapeutic and enhancement technologies. Therapeutic uses of technology such as cochlear implants , prosthetic limbs , and psychotropic drugs have become commonly accepted in religious circles as means of addressing human frailty. Further, they correct the human form according to a constructed sense of normalcy.
Thus the distinction between therapy and enhancement is ultimately questionable when addressing ethical dilemmas. Human enhancement has come under heavy criticism from Christians; especially the Vatican which condemned enhancement as "radically immoral" stating that humans do not have full right over their biological form. In these stories, God was in no real danger of losing power; however, Patrick D. Hopkins has argued that, in light of technological advancement, the hubris critique is changing into a Promethean critique.
According to Hopkins, "In Greek myth, when Prometheus stole fire, he actually stole something. He stole a power that previously only the gods had. Within progressive circles of Christian tradition transhumanism has not presented a threat but a positive challenge. Some theologians, such as Philip Hefner and Stephen Garner, have seen the transhumanist movement as a vehicle by which to re-imagine the Imago Dei. Many of these theologians follow in the footsteps of Donna Haraway 's " Cyborg Manifesto.
Building off of Haraway's thesis, Stephen Garner engages the apprehensive responses to the metaphor of the cyborg among popular culture. For Garner, these "narratives of apprehension" found in popular movies and television are produced by "conflicting ontologies of the person.
Therefore, it is understandable that a person's first reaction to the image of a cyborg would be apprehension. For Garner, the wider scope of Haraway's "cultural cyborg" can be characterized by the term " hybridity. Brenda Brasher thinks that this revelation of the hybridity of human nature present insurmountable problems for scriptural based theological metaphors bound in "pastoral and agrarian imagery.
Related Moving Pictures: Interpreting Feature Film Through the Lens of Gods Word
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