Effects of Cinema on human behavior

Film and Entertainment are important part of today’s culture. It makes sense to reflect upon the vast impact an entertainment piece brings on human behavior. The impacts is social, psychological, ethical, moral, scientific, and personal.

Positive Impacts

Though cinema learning, we develop preparedness, understanding, maturity, new habits, trending styles, and many more. Films influences our language, our beliefs, and other normative aspects. We know ‘what’, ‘how’, ‘why’, when’, ‘where’ through absorbing different perspectives of film cultures.

Socially, our interaction patterns gets highly influenced. We adopt different greeting styles, we get idea of various gestures, and we gain awareness of the different expressions.

Physically, we crave for fit body, fine curves, stylistic and smart appearance. We desire fitness modules of exercises, dances, cardio, yoga, etc.

Psychologically, our beliefs gets expanded, we are ready to leave orthodoxy, stereotypical beliefs, narrow mindedness and acceptance to diverse cultures gets strong. We develop new insights and our place in society reach to a higher level.

Ethically, we are aware of rights and wrongs, we are ready to take our decisions, the dependencies and the fixed trend starts declining.

In special influences, the vulnerable category of women’s, LGBT, handicapped gets the attention as well as opportunities to stand equally among other groups.

The marketing approach has improved with the advent of film industry. With different forms of marketing techniques taking attention of masses, the competition has increased. This has alerted the producer to focus on quality and pricings of their products.

Personally, we have changed a lot- our attitude, profession, educational choice, and marriage ideology has widely affected by the rising of film industry.

The ethical and moral area of human behavior has developed quite well with the learnings from cinema.

Negative Impacts of Cinema

Apart from positive impacts, it’s important to understand the negative sides of filmy world. Being so overly inspired to film characters and in the process of imitating dialogues, one could lose self-identity. One might also feel suffocated on not being able to achieve the flimsy or illusionary world of cinema. There are many cases where a person has distorted its body by surgery, food habits, and excess exercise to look alike his favorite character. One might even start procrastinating real work on addiction to reel world. One may start day-dreaming and miss the passing opportunities of life. One may surround oneself to cool looking people involved in drinking, drugs, bad habits, and missing the substantial attributes of life. One might get attached to materialistic life and miss the essential spiritual nourishments. At last, one might forget to differentiate between facts and actuality, and develop multiple personality and other dangerous disorders. It’s clear that cinema has both positive and negative side. It’s completely on us how we find balance between rights and wrongs, or the appearance and actuality.

What makes a film popular and how our choices are trapped?

A film is popular because of its visual effects, audience polls, entertainment, TRP, Political pressure, fans following, projection of the social issues, historical-cultural relevance, reality check, use of dialogues, different insights, and focus on styles and genres. Nowadays, film makers take special care of the psychology of audience. They will have full research on audience likings, time to release the show, duration of telecast, intensity of roles, platforms to advertise, way to enhance the interest of movie watchers, and so on. This way they are completely trapping audience choice towards cinema. They are stimulating the audience mind to follow the values and lessons projected through the medium of films. They are ruling upon an individual’s conscience. They are not letting an individual to develop an individual’s course of thinking, but they are entirely imposing beliefs upon them. This is the sad reality of cinema. To overcome this issue, it’s always important to have an options of what kinds of film to watch, how long to watch, and at what circumstances to watch. This might help us to restrict ourselves from undervaluing reality and finding a proper balance in between both the worlds of reel and real.

Degradation of Art in Cinema

In all these webs of positive and negative impacts, we must not forget the history of cinema. The history of cinema has remained informative, projecting social causes, enhancing morality, highlighting important figures, and so on. However, the degradation of art in cinema is a major area of concern. The concepts of sexuality, eroticism, attraction, love, romance, addiction, freedom, individual life are overtly shown which encourages a person to opt for all this by defying the conditions of society. This could be a plus point for individual happiness, but for universal happiness it acts as a barrier to path.

Way out..?

In all these perspectives, we understand that cinema and its studies could do wonder to human life. It is the imparting of maximum values in short duration of time. It is the absorbing of diverse facts and digesting the appropriate one. With this, we must take proper care to make a balance between the life of entertainment and reality, and we must secure ourselves to not mix both.

Ps: All these points were discussed in our Philotreat Weekly group Talk. The idea here belongs to participants who enthusiastically interacted on “Films and its impacts on human behavior.”

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‘Docu-feature film’- The Film-maker craft

Documentary Film:  Non-fiction, motion picture intended to ‘document reality’.  Documentaries are basically very short in length. It consists of educational, observational and docufictional. The purpose of documentaries are instruction, education or maintaining a historical record.

The documentary can spread awareness, bring out neglected issues, clear political disputes, reflect reality and produce a quick piece for refreshment.  Documentaries are usually produced by filmmakers who wish to bring change.  The research revealed that 80% of Documentary makers have a focus to make a difference, highlighting causes of global, social, economic and individual level.

Independent film-making business is on the rise due to Documentary. Internet Platforms like Youtube highly supports new filmmakers and their stories.

Type of Documentaries-

  1. Poetic – focuses on feel & tone of a subject. It is mainly traditional.
  2. Expository– Documentaries with narration.
  3. Participatory- Narrator also participates like Travel blogs and food docs.
  4. Observational– filmmaker usually follows a story until she finds a meaningful conclusion.
  5. Reflexive– Asking questions and giving answers about a particular area. It is directed on self and not towards the outside subject.
  6. Performative –  It is directed towards outside subject along with self.

Feature Film:

It is a full-length film between which advertisements could be shown.

In 1927, Warner Bros released the first feature film with a sound, The jazz singer. Next major advancement in feature film started with the rise of color films.

A feature film is an Audio-visual production. It is a combination of story, acting, dance, songs and climax.

Feature films longer than 45 minutes are produced in 70mm format.

There are varieties of Genre in feature films- comedy, drama, action, horror, adventure, science fiction, romantic, melodrama, musical etc.

Language of Documentaries 

Language of Documentaries has something to say about “now”, but the now is ad infinitum. Documentary always says what they intend to say.

Documentaries could be more than what it represents was an idea presented by John Grierson (Scottish Documentary maker). The basic axiology of documentaries is to raise awareness- social, political or life in general.

“Every film is a documentary because it “gives evidence of the culture that produced it and reproduced the likeness of the people who perform in it.”” (Nichols 1991:1) The Wizard of oz (1939).

Gregory Currie (British philosopher and academic) believes that cinema is a means of communication and it is representational. 

*A documentary is an art form because of the film-maker. In this, the objective characteristics of the filmmaker are less important than its subjective characteristics. But due to the lack of aesthetic characteristics, it is important to go beyond documentaries.

The latest trend in film making is docu-feature films. It is combining both aspects of documentaries and feature films. It could bring a mixed packet of Entertainment and awareness in a short period of time. Nowadays, audiences don’t expect long-length film. But they expect more entertainment in a lesser period of time. This could be achieved by the increased production of Docu-feature film.

 Docu Feature Film:

A documentary film that runs 40 minutes or longer is docu-feature film.

This film also includes the aesthetic characters as found in feature films.

This could provide entertainment as well as give useful message of awareness.

Docudrama- It is a fictional and dramatized recreation of factual events in the form of documentary. The Apple(1998)- a docudrama

Examples of Docu-feature Films:

Ivan’s Childhood(1962)

The postman (1997)

1947 Earth (1998) by Deepa Mehta(Indo-Canadian)

Jis Desh mein Ganga Behti hain (1961) by Radhu Karmakar

Guide (1965) by Vijay Anand

Dastak(1970) by Rajinder Singh Bedi

Andhi(1975) by Gulzar

Bhumika (1978) by Shyam Benegal

Aakrosh (1980) by Govind Nihalani

Mirch Masala (1987) by Ketan Mehta

Bombay (1995) by Mani Ratnam

Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar(2000) by Jabbar Patel

My name is Khan (2010)

Manjhi (2015) by Ketan Mehta

Aligarh (2016) by Hansal Mehta

Other docu-feature films

Ship of Theseus(2013)  by Anand Gandhi

Gangs of Wasseypur (2012) by Anurag Kashyap

Pink (2016) by Aniruddha Roy Chowdhury


Satyajit Ray- Reflections on Cinema

Cinema is vast. It is impossible to learn every aspect of it from a book, article or a blog. It is only through experiences that we can know the depth of the cinema. In this blog, experiences(film making & directions) of Satyajit Ray has been selected from his book ‘Deep Focus” published by Harper Collins.

Satyajit Ray(1921-92) was one of the greatest film-makers of his time. His first film Pather Panchali(1955) won an award at the Cannes film festival and established his reputation as a major director. He is the only Indian to receive Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.   

Area of focus would be ‘The Film Maker’s craft”. In the words of Satyajit Ray, ‘A film must achieve its objective.’ Further essential tools of film-making are collected in fragments here:

  • Cinema is a Language. There is also a Language of images, sound and culture.  (Satyajit Ray)Gregory currie believes in cinema as a means of communication, and representational. “Film is a representational medium; it is a means by which representations, themselves distinctly cinematic, are produced and displayed” (1953).

  • For the new directors, it is essential to learn the audience reaction to their works. More than critics, it is the taste of the audience which matters.
  • The regional film should be made in the language of regions as practised in the South.
  • The exposure of Indian cinema to the West is necessary for the growth of the film industry. A film must fit in the diverse & variant perspectives for its success.
  • Western writers may not judge the Indian cinema and their characters truly. They may miss the significance of culture, tastes and religion. It is only Rudyard Kipling who has got closer to write the truth of Indians.
  • It is important for the film to make the context very clear. Film story should not be alien to the audience. It must be related to the day-to-day life of individuals.
  • Every art form has its unique qualities. The tendency to run down an art form because it doesn’t have properties from some other art forms is pointless. The “sound movies” haven’t replaced “silent films”. Both has its own place in the field of cinema.
  • Technical innovations are good. But the characters/ actors role cannot be replaced by machines. ‘To make a Chaplin film you need a Chaplin and not a contraption( a machine or a device)’

  • A Film length should not be too much for the audience to bear. There should not be unwanted breaks and suspense.
  • Nowadays we get to see many movies based on popular books and mythical stories. Can copying exactly as written in books could bring success to film-makers? It is a precious question asked by Satyajit Ray for which he doesn’t show any positive agreements.
  • Sometimes we go to watch a movie and feels like ‘what nonsense it is!’ during half of the movie. It is because of the lack of truth, clarity and emptiness in the story-line.
  • Film work requires the coordinated contribution of so many different technicians, there are opportunities for a thousand slips in execution. But, good acting could save the movie from a downfall.

“What we really need is the true film artist; that dominating individual who is not only a master of his craft but who is also aware of its social implication, of his responsibility as a possible influence on a very large and often a very naive mass of impressionable, film hungry individuals, who is also able to inspire and channel a diversity of the talents into the best interests of work that must, in the end, bear the impression of his own dominating personality.”– Satyajit Ray

This was the short guideline for the art of film-making. Efforts were made to stick to the author ‘Satyajit Ray’ viewpoint. Many more points could be added to this blog from the original book. But, due to lack of time I have kept it short for the readers. Thanks for reading!

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