Universal Code of Movies and Influence of Traditional Media

Universal Code of Movies and Influence of Traditional Media

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3808-1.ch002
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The chapter dwells on the need of studying of universality of certain components of audiovisual media (especially movies) as a cause and possible instrument of international political communication. Emphasized is the low level of research of that very problem in the context of political studies, which ensures certain difficulties in formulating political components of the international political communication evident in case of movies. On an example of Movies in Politics by J. Rosenbaum it is shown why film criticism has a poor connection with political science. Examples of such an influence are presented in the chapter both through historical discourse and more specific cases. Proposed is the string of concept terms among which a universal code of movies – a certain informational component of audiovisual productions, understandable without its textual basis.
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One of the aspects of resistance to innovation and technological change that lacks sufficient research for now is the aspect of audiovisual media. It might be connected to the fact that widespread of audiovisual media as both news outlet and an art form is well-documented and evident and have not merited sufficient questioning grounded in the scientific approach.

Despite that, worrying tendency of analog film (archaic in the views of many people) actually returning as a dominant medium of filming despite the shortage of film projection is a tendency that cannot be ignored and is very much evident in today’s cinematic landscape.

Among other things that might have a sufficient influence on problem is the fact that digital media has a well-known tendency of being doctored, therefore analog film is deemed more trustworthy. Yet, it is curiously enough not as popular in documentary filmmaking which uses simpler “run-and-gun” filmmaking setups, but has a sufficient popularity in the circles of independent fiction filmmakers who tend to use film as a part of filmmaking tradition, appealing if much more difficult version of their craft. While many of such filmmakers still use digital intermediate as a post-production method (which requires a complete digital scan of film) fewer purists had been known to resorting to fully analog post-production processes as well. Cases like Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight (2015) are known to use plain outdated, discontinued processes of film development or materials to achieve a particular look of their film.

Perhaps the biggest question of all in such situations is whether audience of the film deems the result worthy. As most of the average filmgoers are usually not as tech-savvy about what they watch as filmmakers are about what they film, it sparks a controversial question on whether film industry at a whole experiencing a gap with their audience on an international level.

At this point, despite being relatively young, audiovisional media could be considered traditional. After more then a century of its existence a certain number of idiosyncrasies, rituals, paradoxical schemes were inevitable to become universally recognizable elements. The part of that which mostly remains behind the scenes could be traced to superstitions – breaking the plate at the beginning of each filming, on the very first day, is an example of such tradition. However contextual and narrative traditions of audiovisual media are much different. At times they could be traced to individual styles which became universal with development of overall form: editing techniques pioneered by D.W. Griffith were then used by everyone and could be still seen used by every film and/or video editor, regardless of skill level, specialty or purpose.

It should be, of course, taken into consideration that audiovisual media early on adopted traditions of text. Text is established individually in separate languages and universally though all of them. Traditions of text are very much mythological. They often differentiate from verbal tradition (hence familiar dissonance between written language of literature and conversational one). Audiovisual media flips traditions of text on its head: if there exists a gap between the audience and the material, such gap is often intentional and serves a purpose.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Lingua Franca: Language or dialect used systematically for communication between groups of people, for most of which such language is not native. Also referred to as auxiliary language, bridge language, common language, link language, trade language, vehicular language.

eLearning: The use of both physical hardware, software, and educational theoretic to facilitate learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources. Not to be confused with online machine learning.

Zamenhoff, Ludwik Lejzer: Polish ophthalmologist and linguist. Inventor of Esperanto constructed language. (b. December 15 (O.S. December 3), 1859 – d. April 14 (O.S. April 1), 1917).

Esperanto: Widely spoken constructed international auxiliary language. Created in 1887 by L.L. Zamenhoff.

Proairetic Code: An element of the story, usually an action, which implies further narrative action.

New Media: Content available through Internet (on demand) which is usually have accessibility on any digital device and interactive expansions or functions for audience.

Experimental Filmmaking: Mode of filmmaking that re-evaluates existing cinematic conventions, exploring non-narrative forms, alternatives to traditional narrative fiction and methodology. Also known as experimental cinema and avant-garde filmmaking.

Anterograde Amnesia: A loss of the ability of new memory creation after the amnesia-causing event. Leads to varying degrees of inability to recall recent past; with long-term memories before the loss remaining intact.

Cultural Code: Any element of the story that refers to science, body of knowledge, previously existing information

Gutenberg, Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum: A German publisher, printer, gold- and blacksmith who had introduced printing in Europe (b. c. 1938 - d. February 3, 1468).

Lampshade Hanging: An informal term for narrative technique, in which audience’s suspension-of-disbelief is deliberately played with by pointing at disrupting elements directly within the story, either subtly or unsubtly.

Universal Monsters: popular proto-franchise initially developed by Universal Pictures in 1920’s-1940’s as a series of loosely connected horror/monster movies with a set of particular themes, characters (Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolfman, Invisible Man, etc.) and star appeal factors. Continues to this day, retroactively redeveloped into a very recognizable brand in 1960’s-1990’s further connecting many movies initially not planned for inclusion.

Nonverbal Communication: A type of communication achieved through sending wordless signals.

Talkie: Dated term for sound film. Derived from the fact that the talking was heard and it was considered a novelty in 1920’s.

Magic Realism: A style of fiction, characterized by blending/insertion of magic elements into otherwise highly realistic portrayal of real world.

Globalization: (In Commonwealth English also globalsation) a process of interaction and/or integration between people, corporations, organizations or other entities worldwide.

Three-Act Structure: Common narrative model used in media and divides the plot into three parts: setup (inciting incident), confrontation (midpoint) and resolution (climax).

PAX: A call for truce in informal British (dated). Used by children in assorted informal games.

Mr. Oizo: See Dupieux, Quentin.

San-Marino: Microstate in Southern Europe, completely enclosed by Italy. Officially known as the Republic of San-Marino.

Parallel Editing: Film/video editing technique of alternating between two or more scenes, usually (but not necessarily) happening at the same time. Pioneered by David Wark Griffith.

Time Loop: Plot device related to time travel whereby characters repeatedly experience the same repeated span of time, trying to break the cycle of repetition. Also known as temporal loop.

Sammarinese: Citizens and people of country of San-Marino.

Globalized: Adherent and/or prone to Globalization (see).

Microstate: Sovereign state having a very small territory and/or population.

Psycho-Noir: Subgenre of film-noir and neo-noir, which lacks proper definition but could be described as a mixture of classic noir elements with mind-bending techniques such as unreliable narration, surrealism (either in dream/hallucination sequences or with no explanation at all), mental instability of several characters, overtones similar to mysticism and magic realism.

Film-Noir: A genre of American cinema, combining crime drama with overwhelming stylistic approaches (chiaroscuro lighting, shadowplay), sexual overtones, deep psychological and/or nihilistic motives. Often considered as existing truly in the 1940s and 1950s only being reinvented as a much different neo-noir after that even in cases of replication.

Voxy: Language eLearning company based in New York. Founded in February of 2010 by Gregg Carey and Paul Gollash. Has an office in São Paulo, Brazil.

Subinformation: Author’s term for information, distributed through specific channels with specific means, such as in subcultures.

Griffith, David Wark: American film director known for pioneering several enduring editing and photography techniques such as close-up and parallel editing/cross cutting. (b. January 22, 1875 – d. July 23, 1945).

Anxiety: Feeling of uneasiness and worry, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is seen subjectively as menacing.

Cross Cutting: See Parallel Editing.

Universal Code of Movies: Authors term for an unaccounted complex of universally understood instruments of non-verbal communication, which is used commonly and perfected by audio-visual media, such as movies/films, television, web video etc.

Gnomic Code: A subcode of cultural code which applies to such cultural codes as clichés, idiomatic popular sayings, proverbs and other traditional elements.

Atypical Boomerang of International Political Communication: Author’s term for an uncontrollable processes in the international political communications, results of which are returning in an unexpected ways hence the boomerang comparison.

Social media: A term for computer-mediated tools, which primary function is to allow companies and/or people a process of exchanging packages or separate units of information, media (including audio and video, images) in networks and other virtual forms of communication.

Zanussi, Krzysztof: A Polish film, theater and television director, producer and screenwriter, author. Professor of European film at the European Graduate School in Saas-Fee, Switzerland; professor at the Krzysztof Kieslowski Film School of the University of Silesia in Katowice. (b. June 17, 1939).

Semantic Code: Element in a text which suggests additional meaning by the way of connotation.

Audiovisual Media (AV): Electronic media consisting of and/or possessing both visual component and sound. Examples of audiovisual media include films (movies), television, video games, slideshows etc.

Hermeneutic Code: Any element in a story that is not explained and exists as an enigma to audience.

Romano, Marco: A Sammarinese experimental filmmaker, director, writer and actor. Primarily works on YouTube platform. (b. April 4, 1994).

Chiaroscuro: Artistic term referring to use of strong contrast between light and dark affecting the composition. Originating in visual arts, term is also used for lighting in audiovisual productions.

Dupieux, Quentin: A French experimental filmmaker, musician (uses Mr. Oizo as a pseudonym for his musical career), composer and DJ. (b. April 15, 1974).

Language Barrier: A figure of speech, most commonly used to indicate the difficulty of communication between people of different languages, who have little to no knowledge of each other's languages.

Symbolic Code: deeper structural principle, which organizes semantic principles via such techniques as antithesis and mediation. Is not always distinguishable from Semantic code.

Fandom: Subculture composed of fans characterized by a feeling of empathy and camaraderie with others who share a common interest, usually a media franchise of some sort.

Run-and-Gun: A type of film production and equipment regiment in which equipment was stripped to a bare minimum.

World Language: A concept of global lingua franca on an international level.

8mm Film: A motion picture film format in which the film strip is eight millimeters wide. Primarily used and developed for consumer/amateur purposes, as well as home market. Precursor of modern home video formats.

Steganography: A practice of concealing a file, image, message, or video within another one of such. From Greek portmanteau steganographia (steganós (ste?a???) – “covered or concealed”, graphia (??af?) – “writing”).

Metafiction: Form of fiction which emphasizes being fiction, continually reminding the audience of being a constructed, fictional reality.

Reddit: American website and social platform specializing in discussion, news aggregation and content rating. Founded in 2005 by University of Virginia roommates Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian.

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