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Films and their effect on Society.

So, I’ve been thinking a lot about movies lately. Specifically about their impact on our lives. I’ve had a few talks in the past with different people about their views on movies, and the views are quite contrasting. I am talking not only about the violence in films, or pornography, or offence, but about it’s effects on our own minds, and our society as a whole.

Obviously this is such an extensive topic, and I can not board it completely throughout this blog post, nonetheless, I will try to address some of the issues that I have been thinking about lately.

According to Wikipedia, a Film is considered to be the following:

Film encompasses individual motion pictures, the field of film as an art form, and the motion picture industry. Films are produced by recording images from the world with cameras, or by creating images using animation techniques or special effects.

Films are cultural artifacts created by specific cultures, which reflect those cultures, and, in turn, affect them. Film is considered to be an important artform, a source of popular entertainment and a powerful method for educating — or indoctrinating — citizens.

Now, we can logically infer that when speaking about movies we are talking about all it’s genres and sub-genres, all it’s different forms including B&W film, speechless, etc.

I can logically deduce that humans create films to express feelings they have, feelings we all have. But have we gone too far? I’m not going as far as to call Film stupid, or not an art, but I think we have to make a clear distinction to what is fake and what is real, and to what is tolerable or bearable and what is simply going over the limit.

By typing Violence in Films in Google I get 224,000,000 results. It is obviously a matter of great concern for the public.

“By the time the average U.S. child starts elementary school he or she will have seen 8,000 murders and 100,00 acts of violence on TV.” - New Scientist, 2007

So how exactly does violence, rape, murder, sex, and verbal offence contribute to violence and indecent acts in our society?

This website cites quite a few facts that have studied concerning this topic.  It says: Researchers followed 329 subjects over 15 years. They found that those who as children were exposed to violent TV shows were much more likely to later be convicted of crime. Researchers said that, “Media violence can affect any child from any family,” regardless of social class or parenting.

So we can clearly see it has an effect on our lives. What intrigues me the most is why can’t we, as rational human beings, make a distinction between what clearly is supposed to be an art form, and reality. Why do we let a motion picture inflict damage on the progress of our own lives?

Because ours is a puritanically-based society and we have problems with depictions of sex, we tend to eroticize violence. For many people this creates an unfortunate, often even unconscious, link between sex and violence.” - from “Sex Research, Censorship, and the Law”

I come to think of this as true up to the extent that all our actions are based on what we learn and what we know, and we as human beings learn by seeing and imitating. Following this trend of thought we can infer that as we see from movies, we tend to act accordingly, by the means of learning and practicing.

Therefore I come to the conclusion that we, as a society, are not ready to create our own art forms, and expression, and really understand and act independently to so. In painting, we often let our minds wander off based on the expression, colours and objects depicted in the artist’s creation. May people have commited murder based on this? Indeed it is possible, just as it was also possible to commit murder after reading “The Catcher in the Rye”, so why not?

We, as a society, must first learn to control our bodies, our minds, and our actions before putting ourselves to the test and searching for a medium for expression, and searching for alternate art forms. After all, there is a lot to be learned about murder. Watching crime films, and different genres of films gives a lot of insight as to how the world works, what we are made of, why we do the things we do. Nonetheless, we must learn to control ourselves before being exposed to such material, as the untrained mind will not only obtain knowledge from the good parts of movies, but also will learn from the bad parts, the inmoral parts, the violent parts, etc.

I think we still have a long way, to really learn to think.

  • Edit 23/Oct/2012: Changed ”The Catcher and the Rye” to ”The Catcher in the Rye”, thanks Sophia for noticing this.