Films are a form of visual art that combine a photograph with a sound track to create a moving image. They can be shot on actual locations with a motion-picture camera, with drawings or miniature models using traditional animation techniques, by computer graphics and CGI (computer-generated) methods or a combination of these and other technologies. Films are also a source of entertainment, escapism and education. Some films inspire social change, raise awareness of issues and raise questions about the world around us. Films can also teach us about other cultures and viewpoints, and can be a form of history.
The art of film has a long and varied tradition, with influences including the Greek tragedies, the Renaissance painting and the Enlightenment philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Modern philosophers who have contributed to the philosophy of film include Jacques Lacan and Ferdinand de Saussure. One of the most popular current approaches is to model film analysis on scientific theorizing. This approach emphasizes empirical study and the development of small scale theories that allow for a wide range of interpretations of particular features of films.
A major role of movies is to provide entertainment, a distraction from everyday stress and an opportunity to spend time with friends. Movies come in many different genres, including romantic dramas, action flicks, comedies and horror films. The cast in a film is the group of actors and actresses who appear together, and a star is an actor or actress who receives special attention from audiences. Film directors, producers, film editors, cinematographers and other technicians are also part of the crew.
Many people use films as a way to escape their daily lives and enter worlds of fantasy, love or comedy. This escapist role has been a primary reason for the popularity of films. Films can also raise questions about life and the universe, as in the case of Citizen Kane and Vertigo. Films can inspire debate on philosophical ideas, such as those of the New Atheism movement, and provide insights into psychological processes like anxiety and depression.
Several studies have found that watching films can provide a healthy outlet for emotions. Laughing, for example, is a great way to reduce stress hormones in the body, while crying can decrease levels of cortisol. Movies can also help people develop and strengthen relationships with family and friends by showing various types of friendship and familial situations.
Some movies encourage social activism by raising awareness of social issues and encouraging viewers to make a difference in the world. Others inspire personal growth by demonstrating how regular people can achieve success and overcome adversity. For example, the Oscar-winning film Roma by Alfonso Cuarón tells a true-life story of the director’s childhood in 1970s Mexico City and raises issues about race, culture and class that remain relevant today. Other films, such as the documentary Avatar and the biopic Black Panther, illustrate important historical events that changed our world.