By Brittany Larimore
A ‘global citizen(s)’ is either a person or a group of individuals with a broad perspective of the global economy, contemporary issues, art and/or culture. Without this sense of understanding, we fall into the ignorance that has left some people and places in total disarray. In terms of studying film and filmmaking, access to the ideal global citizen is simple because cinema has no language: its themes and visual messages are conveyed in a way that is universal for human comprehension.
Over 30,000 years ago, a collection of Paleolithic people entered a cave and began to paint upon the cavern walls. What emerged were images of horses, rhinos, lions and other exotic animals, but what is remarkable is that the normally four-legged creatures were depicted to have eight legs.
This created the illusion, as the viewer walked past the painting, that the animals were in movement (as brilliantly showcased in Werner Herzog’s Cave of Forgotten Dreams). This is similar to watching a movie and the frame is paired with another frame. It creates the illusion that the scene is in seamless motion when, in actuality, it is a series of stills.
So everyone, even our ancient ancestors, fell under a spell of basic magic, but the real magic is what the pictures are trying to tell us. With every visual, our brain processes what we see and registers a message, whether it is done consciously or subconsciously. The men and women in those caves somehow understood that their paintings were telling stories, and those stories have resisted the test of time. We are still looking for messages to visualize in our imaginations because it’s fascinating. The ability to see something within the mind’s eye is the greatest achievement ever succeeded by nature.
By viewing a moving image, we are transported to a different world where there are heroes, villains, morals and obstacles. We then use those internal ideas and manipulate them to dictate an emotional response; whether it’s joy, sadness, disgust, fear or anxiety. These are feelings all human beings have. By having that manufactured emotion brought on by a message, you are not only connecting with others from across the world, but you are also having a relationship with people through time.
When we enter a theater and the protagonist saves the day in such a way that makes the entire audience stand up and cheer, we are experiencing a level of connection that is purely based on emotions. You cannot read the person’s mind, but you are having the exact same level of response. You and the other members of the theater may come from completely different cultural and ethical backgrounds, but you are sharing a moment that is projected by the human imagination. This is why people make movies.
People who are either in the film department program or simply love movies are continuing a tradition that has transcended thousands of years. Therefore, when you make a movie or a video, you are relaying a message to the world. Some things may get lost in translation, but there will be someone out there who will watch the same content and will have the same reaction as you. Through this, you two will always be connected: whether it is through the past, present, or future. You become a global citizen.
For more pretentious articles on movies from a local St. Louisian, check out my blog at http://www.brittanylarimoreofficial.wordpress.com