From the masterpieces of Charlie Chaplin to last year’s mind-blowing blockbuster of “Sky Captain & The World of Tomorrow,” the film industry seems to have fully realized what technology advancements can be created in relation to ticket sales, while studios straggle to manage and reinvent themselves by allowing the consumer market to explore new entertainment paths. Interrelating art, technology, and mass society, mix to uncover the entertainment gateways and constitute a rather fertile ground for one to examine the progress of art forms in relation to technology during the centuries by focusing on the powerful effects of a an exciting art invention, like the film.
Some actors refer to it as pure magic, some of today’s film critics try to categorize it by using specific criteria, but for the majority of us, nave as we may are, our favorite films have entered the sphere of myth. Numerous times we have entered theater venues, in our attempt to come closer than ever, to that young star inside us. All of these instances, consumers like me and you have found it hard to realize while crossing the exit sign that the dream world is once again over. It seems cruel that for the last two hours we have been trapped into an illusion, so sweet that seems almost unbearable to face reality and life as ourselves and not as one of those superheroes, we admire so. Technology has once again entered our lives, managed our desires, and made us admit that what we are getting is not enough. We ought to be better, do better, than ever before. The tremendous effect of the film industry has changed us all over again. Probably it’s true, as we feel that we have evolved both emotionally and mentally by embracing this experience, but still we have a long way to go before we can admit that we are happy with ourselves. But we are happy, aren’t we?
For philosophers and scholars, the tremendous effects of a film are attributed to its unique characteristics. No other art form, as masterful as it may be, can ever engage mass society’s attention, or evoke these kinds of mass emotions, as much as films can. While we let ourselves enter the new sphere that welcomes us on a screen, we become a part of this story telling without consciously experiencing the penetration of our reality.
According to philosopher Benjamin, reproducing a unique prototype, by making it tenable to the mass society, causes aura to disappear and the art form is no longer considered a cult artifact, but rather an element that serves exhibition purposes and exists to entertain the masses. Although this is true for some art forms, the industry of film-making requires reproduction so as to remain alive. Its mere existence as an art form, due to the costs associated, is designed to meet the eyes of the mass market spectators. Does this consequence deprive the artistic element from the films? Maybe it does in some cases. High ticket sales do not certainly qualify for quality. Aura is not entailed in films created to entertain and distract the minds of our civilized society. On the other hand, in the rare cases that we exit a theater troubled, or even happy with what it has evoked, aura is present and certainly alive. It is easier to realize this vague aura by judging a film’s ability to capture our inner thoughts and desires, which last more than a few minutes, sometimes all the way home. As aura exists in an art gallery, or a writer’s studio, it definitely exists in the minds of the people enjoying a film. Aura is not mythical in essence, is still alive in our minds and hearts.