Why the Seventh Art?


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The Grand Lake Theatre in Oakland (1926) [Daily Mail]

“Audiovisual media” is a term, which, arbitrarily, includes diverse elements such as fictions, documentaries, TV programs, art-videos and many other contents which can be viewed on a computer screen or a mobile phone. This is quite an arbitrary grouping, since a theatre play or a conference both come under the audiovisual field.

For a great part of the 20th century, cinema was the dominating audiovisual media, even though from the fifties on, he had to compete with television.

Norma Desmond watching her films in her Home Cinema

One of the first theorists in this field, Ricciotto Canudo, maintains that cinema is not just an artistic media, but definitely the “Seventh Art”, which he perceives as the only true outcome of all classical arts: painting, sculpture, poetry, dance and music.

This is why by taking into account its similarities and its differences with the other artistic media (comic strips, theatre, literature or even music) the cinematographic media can be understood. Some do not use sound, such as classic comic strips (comics in the form of
animations, a booming and rapidly evolving medium, allow for the use of sound); some others don’t use pictures, such as music, but they are all, like cinema, fundamentally sequential media.

To be continued…

lasparadojasThis article is a selection of passages taken from my book, The scriptwriter’s paradoxes: rules and exceptions in the practise of a scenario (Las paradojas del guionista, Alba Editorial, 2007) aimed at people interested in scriptwriting, and narration in general. The book explores the different theories and manuals existing on the subject, while listing forty paradoxes with which a scriptwriter might be faced.

Web page: Las paradojas del guionista


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