The Cultural Capital of Film (Feature)
Filming the mirror.
Are movies created from culture, or does culture create movies? It’s clear that they both provide a feed for the other, but is the balance shifting? What is the real Cultural Capital of a film now?
This shift is evident in the topical issues that are explored through the medium of film. For a long time, the big studios released “polished” movies depicting an interpretation of life through the glamor of the silver screen. However, in recent years we have witnessed a rise in popularity of the indie film, low-budget, grittier productions that are more likely to experiment with deeper societal issues or topics. It can be argued that kudos for film production has started to shift from high production, stylized film to the smaller, independent films that are by and large more controversial, relevant and it would seem, authentic.
Less surprising is the awards success these small films are garnering when pitted against their large-scale counterparts. We commonly see big name actors and actresses who have successfully built careers on the big screen more than willing to contribute to smaller projects. It is suggestible that this is where they are able to prove their acting worth, in dramas that are not glossy, nor manicured, but real interpretations of current culture.
Film by the people, for the people.
It should be mentioned that it is not only the content that depicts this shift. The film “Life In A Day” (Launching July 24, 2011) is the first feature film to be created entirely through crowd-sourced submissions, one of the biggest acknowledgements to date of film responding to changes in cultural influence. "Life In A Day" is billed as “an historic global experiment to create a user-generated feature film shot in a single day.”
The world was given 24 hours to capture a glimpse into their lives on camera and submit it through YouTube. The 4500 hours of footage was edited into a final film, produced by Ridley Scott and directed by Kevin Macdonald. Furthermore, while there is a beautifully edited official trailer, viewers are encouraged to edit their own trailer and request preview screenings in their city by submitting requests. The film will be played where “fans are the loudest” that is where there is the most requests received.
Perhaps it is the removal of the constraints that surround big budget movies or the extension of ownership that has already ensured the movie’s widely anticipated release. Or perhaps it is once again, the authentic nature of the content that is so appealing.
While it would be unreasonable to suggest that conventional Hollywood movies are losing favor, what is clear is that as cultural values and roles change and we bear witness to emerging trends, we simultaneously see these formed for our viewing entertainment on the big screen. Perhaps the real changing trend of film, as a form of Cultural Capital, is its willingness to help us understand how we feel about cultural changes as we encounter them.
-Katie McKendrick (11,038 views)
Culturalcapital.tv (US Blog Entry)
image @ Johnonolan