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Cultural Values

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At the turn of the twentieth century, mass media became the substitute for Academic painting as the most influential source of perspective images to reflect the basic ethnic values of Western culture according to Dr. Brown. The researcher discusses several significant reasons for that substitution. For instance, Dr. Griffith’s filmmaking is an art that could only be compared with the Academic painting as his pictures are mere artistic masterpieces as well as the paintings of famous artists. Dr. Brown speculates on the issue of mass media values as well as theorizes about fine art and popular culture in bipolar opposition. Both Griffith’s films and academic art share the similar values such as representability, visualization, literacy, and freedom. These values are represented in today’s movies, which, to certain degree, sometimes are in excess; however, it makes the visual imagery of such movies even look more attractive.

Dr. Griffith was an innovator in the field of filmmaking. He was the first to use the particular techniques such as close-ups, cross-cuttings, and fadeouts, evoking profound emotional involvement. He touched racist rebellious themes, and mixed different epochs and locations in one movie. Griffith’s most famous films are The Painted Lady (1912), Birth of a Nation (2015), and Intolerance (1916), known for its innovative juxtaposition of settings and eras. Emergence of Birth of a Nation set up movie as a device of picturesque self-expressiveness, approach for distribution political ideas, and a sort of perspective public entertainment that would win the prominent place in world’s industry along with academic art. Pictorial art as well as filmmaking is self-expressive and innovative. Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Claude Monet, Salvador Dali are notorious for their masterful work with paints and canvasses, dialectics of concepts, and maneuvering of a variety of themes. Realism, surrealism, romanticism are not the complete list of artistic styles existing in the world. Comparatively, film industry has different movie genres, uses different ways of public attraction, and is targeted at specific audience.

Griffith’s movies are highly artistic samples of films of the twentieth century. They evoke people’s feelings with the help of vivid imagery, foreshadowing, cross-cuttings, discontinuity of times etc. According to Dr. Brown, who researched the influential substitution of Academic painting by film industry in her paper “Art & Mass Media” (2005), “representations are meaningful and the mass media use certain representations for effect” (Brown 21). She also distinguished and investigated such significant values as literacy and freedom: “The degree of literacy determines how we see what we see, what it means for all of us” (Brown 22). Literacy along with freedom are distinctive traits of Griffith’s films in particular, and movie industry in general. 18-19th century cultural values are represented in many modern motion pictures by different directors. Spiderman 4 by Marc Webb is a typical rebellious movie with impressive surrealistic effects and close-up shooting. The same can be said about Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (2001) by Simon West that I have seen recently. Both movies are representative since they are made in highly artistic manner and are abundant in multiple tricks.

The basic cultural values of Western society have been trespassed with the help of visual imagery previously presented by Academic art and later on by means of mass media that won the leading role in the world entertainment industry. Dr. Brown speculated over the influence of movie industry in comparison with paintings of different epochs. Dr. Griffith’s films share the common values of literacy and representability with fine arts and Western society in general. Today’s movies, such as Spiderman 4 or Lara Croft, follow Griffith’s tradition of high artistry in excess. Time’s changes make difference.

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