Wednesday, November 06, 2013

History of film making:- an old article

            Chronicles mention that the motion picture originated when Edison invented the Kinetoscope in 1899. Combining his kinetoscope with his photographs and recording, he showed the first synchronized sound film in Paris in 1922, when silent movie theatres had become popular in the world. Griffith developed the story techniques in movies. Forest’s vacuum tube provided the amplification for the first talking motion picture in 1927.
            Sic, it took more than 30 years for the flat black and white silent flicks to be transformed into sound films.
            From the point of view of aesthetics, the art of Cinema is called the art of all arts, absorbing other arts ranging from dance and drama to novels and short stories, from art to architecture. Cinema is most persuasive.
Beginning of film making in India:
            In India, immediately after the first film was viewed in Bombay in 1896, film making experiments were started by Harischandra  Sawe Bhatvalekar in Bombay and Hiralal Sen in Calcutta. Both imported movie cameras and made films; the former on wrestling matches and the Hanging Gardens, Bombay, and the letter on theoretical performances.
            In 1913 that Dadasaheb Phalke, the Father of Indian Cinema, screened his first film, Harishchandra, depicting the story of a great legendary votary of truth.
            Chandulal Shah’s Gunasundari became the “signpost of the time”. And so did Himansu Rai’s Indo German internationally known film Light of Asia, most of the films related to religious, historical and social topics, stunts and humorous situations added colour to the pictures.

Some landmarks:
            The landmark in the history of Indian Cinema was the release of the first Indian talkie on 14th March 1931. Gradually, playback singers emerged and music directors become more important than even the singer actors.
            The next landmark in the history of Indian Cinema was also provided by Ardeshir Irani in his color film Kisan Kanya. This added a new dimension to film making in India.
            The first artistic master piece based on popular mythological legend about Rama and Sita was produced in 1934. Directed by Debeki Bose, it was shown at the Venice film festival.
            The redeeming feature of the war situation was, however the export of Indian films to South and South East Asia, West Asia and East Africa where it later came to represent heights of entertainment. This feat was accomplished with the introduction of high professionalism in the realm of song and sequences & elements of melodrama.

Film as a publicity Agent:
            Another trend promoted during the Second World War was the wider application of film. The medium came to be recognized as a potential agent for publicity as also an activist in bringing about opinion or behavioral changes. A beginning was also made to use it for advertising, youth and child welfare and documentary purposes. The film became a multipurpose publicity agent.

Milestones in the growth of Cinema:
            The government showed concern about the balanced development of the cinema which had became a money bag and multi-star industry. The films division setup by the ministry of information and broadcasting in 1948 gave a boost to documentary films and upgraded it professionally and technically.

Commercial Cinema:
            The cinema after independence in India was predominately commercial so far as feature films were concerned. The star system, high budgets, escapism, concoction of popular entertainment ingredients, and abundance of music, song and dance were generally the characteristics of this cinema.

Promising Future:
            In future, if mass communication in India is to have its maximum impact, some basic defects and deficiencies in the system must be removed.
            Added to this requirement of building a research base, there is the need
  1. To bring about some structural changes in order to promote a free & balanced flow of information in the country and to exchange developmental social and cultural news with the countries of the south.
  2. To reevaluate news values to correspond them more to the developmental priorities of the nation and rural people.
  3. To eliminate all constraints on media whether they are imposed by the government, private ownership or vested interests.
  4. To inculcate self discipline and sound and professional responsibility among the media organizations and practitioners.
  5. To stimulate inbuilt feedback & evaluator process in the communication systems governed by a dynamic communication policy.
  6. To encourage maximum mobilization of human resources, the biggest resources of the country through all the relevant modern communication technologies.
  7. To fill in all the existing gaps in the communication infrastructure of the country.

Satyajit Rey’s Films:
            Pather Panjali (1954)
            Aparajito (1957)
            Apur Sansar (1959) (Master pieces)
            Jalsaghar (1958)
            Devi (1969)
            Teen Kanya (1961)
            Charulata (1964)
            Nayak (1966)
            Gupy Gyne Baghe Byne (1968)
            Aranyer Din Ratri (1970) (musical fantasy)
            Pratidwandi (1970)
            Seemabadha (1971)
            Sonar Kella (1974)
            Ashani Sankar (1973)
            Ghare Bhaire (1985)
            Ganasatru (1989)
            Shatranj Ke Khilari (1977) (only Hindi feature)
            Rey’s documentaries include the moving Rabindranath Tagore, a one hour documentary narrated by Rey himself and Sikkim (1980) which has not yet been passed by the Censor Board.

Film Censorship in India:
            Film censorship was set in motion in India when the Cinematograph Act of 1918 was made law from May 1920. It allowed the exhibition of films only after they had been certified as suitable for public exhibition.
            The Central Boar of Film Censors (since June 1, 1983 renamed the “Central Board of Film Certification”) is set up by the central government under the power granted it by the Cinematograph Act (1952) and the cinematograph (censorship) Rules 1958.
            Advisory panels are constituted at each regional office by the Central Government which also decides, in consultation with the CBFC, the number of panel members for each office. The members are appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the CBFC.

How films are censored:
            A film producer has, in the first place, to submit an application for a certificate to the CBFC. The film to be examined must be complete in every sense, with the background music and all sound effects duly recorded on the film itself. Then the examine committee will give the certificate (either U or A or U/A).

Phases of film making:
  • Scripting (Screenplay)
  • Casting
  • Rehearsing
  • Shooting
  • Sound Track
  • Editing
  • Production
  • Distribution
  • Publicity
  • Exhibition

American Film History:
In the space of 30 years (1900-30) cinema became an integral part of society. Going to the movies became a weekly pastime for a majority of Americans. American films were regularly exported to Europe. Motion pictures became a national institution.
Only the American pragmatists paid attention to this new industry and its effects on society. They are (Cooley (1902/1922, 1907); Mead (1925/1926/1964); Park (1926/1967); Blumen (1933).
Hollywood’s cinematic apparatus ushered into American Civil Society a new scopic regime which initially privileged the visual oval the aural. Aurality (Silent film), a privileging of imaging over sound.
American cinema created a space for a certain kind of public, communal urban life. Inside the new movie palaces Americans entered the public realm.
Cinema elaborated the epistemology of scientific realism already deeply rooted in American culture. This epistemology held that faithful, direct and truthful knowledge of the actual world could be produced.
The picture palace: A theatre for everyone
            By 1909 the movies were well established in America. They had become the preeminent national amusement and had to be taken seriously. The period of 1910-15 saw the size of the theater chain. These theatres, soon to be called picture palaces, were located near middle-class neighborhoods, in densely populated areas, along retail shopping through fares, and along public transportation routes. They brought this new visual culture to the middle class.
            These picture palaces manipulated the status symbols of the new middle classes. They created visual environments which simulated the life styles of the rich and the famous.
            The new cinematic apparatus and the stories it told had to be regulated. The apparatus itself was fine. The stories were the problem. The gaze was looking at and telling stories about wrong things.
Mulvey’s Voyeur and his pleasures:
The Voyeur’s Desire:
            Cinema produces three types of looks the gaze of the camera as it records events, the look of the audience as it watches, and the looks of the characters as they watch one another. Narrative cinema denies the first two gazes, subordinating them to the third. In this world virtual pleasure is organized in terms of the active and passive voyeuristic mechanisms that turn the women’s body into a spectacle of desire. Visual pleasures, then are masculine, for the spectator is always masculine.
            Clearly Mulvey’s theory of the voyeur and his pleasure is too narrow for pleasant purposes. It is based on a limited conception of looking and voyeurism. It ignores alternative models of spectatorship and gazing. It fails to articulate the interaction multiple identities for the male and female figure.
            The professional voyeur challenges the ordinary make-up of everyday life. He or she questions the way things are. The voyeur’s gaze unravels the untruths that others tell, including their lies, violence, illicit affairs, cover-ups, murders, political assassinations, illegal acts, briberies, personal indiscretions and deeply held secrets.
            These professionals who do the gazing, investigative, surveillance work of the cinematic society pay a high prize for their gazing, often alcoholism, personal violence, or insanity. The complex relationship between these costs, their consequences, and the voyeur’s activities occurs too frequently to be coincidental. In exposing the truths that others cannot, or will not, see the voyeur functions as a social critic and a menace  to the existing social order. These activities place the voyeur under threat of harm; his or her life may be endangered. At the same time these activities produce instabilities in the personal life of the voyeur: a life which is already unstable because of the voyeuristic position he or she has assumed in society.
The Erotic, Pornographic Gaze:
            Recall the opening shots of Chinatown (1974): Jake and a client are examining photographs of the client’s semi-nude wife having intercourse with a male in a nature setting. Jake attempts to comfort his client, as the two peeping toms experience, not just sexual arousal, but outrage at this show of marital infidelity. This scene blurs the dividing line between the detective as voyeur of the truth and voyeur of the sexual; for clearly Jake takes some morbid pleasure in having uncovered this sexual infidelity for his client. His pleasure is two-fold; he has fulfilled his detective obligation to discover the truth about the client’s wife and he has been sexually aroused in the process.
            Consider another scene: Harry, our detective in Dirty Harry (1971), finds himself in a dark alley on a stakeout of Scorpio. Standing on a garbage can he peers into a window where a woman, undressed to the waist, is engaged in sexual activity with a male. Four bums disrupt his activity, knock him to the ground and call him a dirty peeping tom who is interfacing with Mary’s work. Harry, like Jake, crosses the dividing line between detective or investigator and sexual voyeur. Indeed each film suggests that the two activities cannot be separated, for sex, violence and illegal conduct all go together. Hence Harry’s name, ‘Dirty Harry’ for with this name he takes his place with those sexual voyeurs, and peeping toms who have preceded him in the history of cinema.
The Gendered Gaze:
            Always a gendered production, usually male, but not necessarily, the voyeur exposes the erotic, political sides of everyday life. In doing so this figure shows how the gaze is inevitably gendered and structured by the laws of patriarchy. The female’s passive gaze for example, is typically countered by the active, aggressive gaze of the male: her investigative look is made subordinate to the power of the masochistic and sadistic patriarchal gaze. Her gaze simply lacks power and is often used as a supplement to the investigative look of the male. As such it also functions to affirm his project and underline her admiration for him.
The Ethnic Gaze:
            The gaze of the voyeur is also racially structured, for typically racial minorities are not allowed to gaze on majority group members. The concept of the color line structures the gaze of race. This line assigns whites and African-Americans different positions in the social order, giving to each different rights and privileges, including how visual, face-to-face interaction is to be organized. When a member of a racial or ethnic minority does appropriate the voyeur’s investigative gaze, he or she is often relegated to a secondary position, for example, the helper of a white man; the minority gaze is prohibited from crossing the color line that separates the races. Texts which invert this structure challenge a racial order predicated on a privileged structure of gazing and being seen: African - Americans, even if they are detectives from the big city of Philadelphia, cannot gaze on white Americans.