Film: an Art Form Worthy of Study

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Canuel, Chris
Film , Meaning , Cinematic Technique , Education
Film is an integral part of the everyday cultural experience of millions of Canadians (Ewoudou, 2005). Though we have enjoyed film as a society for close to a century, we have been reluctant to regard it as art. The literature on the use of film in education shows that it is predominantly employed as a pedagogical aid and not studied for its intrinsic aesthetic value. This paper will demonstrate that film is a legitimate art form that edifies students and thus merits serious study in the secondary school curriculum. It will discuss how film conveys meaning through a visual narrative. Fundamental cinematic techniques will be examined to show how they communicate ideas, create mood and evoke empathy in the viewer. It will demonstrate how film has evolved aesthetically by looking at the stylistic innovations of the French New Wave movement. An exemplar film from this period, The 400 Blows (1959), will then be analyzed to illustrate the beauty of the medium and its power to express the essence of the human condition. The paper will conclude by advocating for the inclusion of film in the existing Ontario secondary school curriculum and giving recommendations for its study.
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