No art form so completely engages the senses like film. This isn’t to lessen the value of the written word, of music, of painting; but only in film are all of these amazing arts fused together to make a greater whole.
It all starts on the page. Screenwriting has attracted the greatest writers from other fields. Pulitzer winning playwright David Mamet has worked in film for years while fellow Pulitzer winning author Cormac McCarthy has written his first screenplay “The Counselor”, which is set to come out later this year.
After the script is perfected, it is placed in the hands of a gifted director. This includes directors who honed their skills on the stage, in commercials, or in music videos. These men and women translate the written word into visual art, collaborating with actors, cinematographers, costume designers, production designers and many more to ensure the quality of everything in front of the camera.
Once the principal photography is completed, composers attempt to create a score that perfectly blends with the visuals. This field has attracted classical composers like John Williams, former composer of the Boston Pops Orchestra, as well as modern rock stars such as Jonny Greenwood of Radiohead and Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.
A single person can write a book, or create a beautiful painting, or record a classic song. In film, this is impossible. Many have tried to make films by themselves, few have succeeded. A wide range of creative minds is needed with the support of a hardworking crew. But why do the greatest talents in directing, music, art, fashion (Giorgio Armani designed the costumes for Brian DePalma’s “The Untouchables”) agree to step out of their individual fields to collaborate with others? Why step out of their comfort zones to take a relatively small role on the set of a film?
Because when the lights go down in the theater and the image comes up, the audience is enthralled. A great line of dialogue, a spot-on acting performance, a fitting musical cue will stick with the viewer for a long time. And when it all comes together, when John Williams’ score picks up as Elliott races his bike away from cops with E.T. in his basket, only to fly away from all his troubles, the viewer’s emotions are overwhelmed by the immersive experience. The moment is forever immortalized in the hearts and souls of those who see it. And it is moments like this when film transcends other art forms. It is moments like this, when film is perfect.
-- by Curt Ege