I am someone who binge-watches quite less. Neither I am a fan of TV nor any movie. It’s on a rare occasion that I feel the urge to watch something. When I am angry or sad or confused or anxious, I feel the need to watch something just to escape the tragedy of time and of course so that I don’t have to talk to anyone. This week I felt stressed and scrolled through my Netflix. I am a big fan of drama, psychic thrillers, and rom-coms. So, Netflix apparently showed me in the suggestions this series called, “The Frankenstein Chronicles.” For someone who watches things rarely, we don’t like to surf for many other series. I went for it and I must say, I don’t regret it. So, I thought I should write about it.
Here is the brief about “The Frankenstein chronicles”-
Frankenstein Chronicles is a series that leads by a strong detective character named John Marlott played by the actor Sean Bean. Benjamin Ross and Barry Langford created it based on Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel. John Marlott finds a weird thing at a swamp which looks like a human but is not. The body looks like being stitched and attached. Later, he finds out through a doctor named William Chester, played by Samuel West that the body is actually made of seven different bodies.
For which, John Marlott suspects that the people who were used to make that body were murdered. To find out who possibly can be committing this crime and why he starts to investigate. Through his investigations, he finds out many shocking things that happen about surgeons of England. But sadly, John Marlott’s story ends in an unexpected way. In a nutshell, this story is a must-watch if you are a crime lover. Uhhh, Light-hearted? Please watch in company!
I am a horror fan. So, I expect a lot of horror from the movie, which is a little disappointing. But that being said, the series kept me hooked because of its twists and turns. I loved how everything was placed properly, and nothing was exaggerated. The dull tone used in the movie helped us experience the old times of England. A few shots showing the slum side show us the dark side of big crimes that occur under our nose. The story is a complete package of amazing actors, on-point content and chill in the bones of the watchers.
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What is a movie? We can define the term in several ways, but what is the actual operation and definition of a movie? Is it art? Or a Craft? To understand what it is, you need to have a perception of what ‘craft’ means and how it is different from ‘art’. A craft is an activity to create something. Many activities go behind the screen of a film, and all these activities are unhesitantly called crafts and the people who perform these activities are craftsmen. So is the film a craft? No! But filmmaking is a craft! Cinema is an art. This piece of art is made by various craftsmen combining their crafts such as direction, cinematography, music, sound, colour and various other aspects.
Cinema, the prodigal son of multiple arts
Now let’s strip down this art called movie to understand it in the right way. But before we do that, why did I use the term ‘right way’? Is there a wrong way? Yes, there is! The way we understand films impact a lot on what we are taking from it. If we understand cinema as a ramp, then we start taking the beauty of those ramp walking models, here actors. Somewhere we have lost our perception and movies have become nothing more than ramps. We have started watching movies to look at these sparkling actors. We have begun praying them, watching their films and defending their crappy works because we like them. Fanaticism is not our concern, though. So let us not worry about the wrong understandings of a film and dive into the proper way.
Any art is an expression, and the artists are expressers. What they express is an artistic choice. But the purpose of art’s existence is to express something. Let us assume this expressing subject as ‘information’. Because no matter what the expresser (artist) chooses to communicate through their art, it conveys some information to the viewer. The entire purpose of a movie too is to speak something; to express some information to the viewer. Regardless of what that information is, every movie does talk about something. Like their ancestor, the painting, even a movie is visual art. It does speak something and its medium to communicate is visual.
Cinema has the attributes of almost all the art forms. It is a visual art like paintings; has sound and music, and has characters, actions and spectacle like stage plays. They are the hybrid form of art, and it takes all of those artists to make it work. Sometimes when you hear certain music, it impacts you. It reaches your brain and triggers certain emotions. Music and sound are auditory art where they tell you something too. Some music has lyrics to say to you directly, and some music talks to you through its tune and instruments. Similarly, characters speak a lot of things through their dialogue and sometimes with their expressions. But when you dig into the actual lineage of cinema, you will understand that its heritage comes from paintings more than any other art. They are called movies for a reason. And that is, moving pictures!
The stripping downof cinema
When you strip down a movie, that is simplifying it. You can call a film as a collage of multiple video clips arranged in a particular order to tell a specific story. And if you strip that clip to its toes, a video is a bunch of photos taken at a certain speed and animated later. So all movie is just a bunch of pictures! Let us call these photos as frames! Because that is what a movie is. It has 24 frames per second, meaning 24 photos clicked per second. When you compile these continuously clicked photos into a clip and organise all these clips to tell a story, you have a cinema!
Note to film enthusiasts and aspiring filmmakers!
Now telling a story, that is where the difference lies. How do you tell a story? In a movie, you have all the arts available to you. You have many different ways to tell a story. It is up to you to make sure that you don’t over-use any aspect and never use any other. That is what happens in many mainstream cinema. They over-use ‘dialogue’ by conveying all the information through the character’s dialogues. It is an easy way out because the character directly speaks out. But you have all the other arts to use. When we strip the film down, we understood that it is just a series of photographs. What a photo is a modern version of paintings.
With the available technology, we can edit all the details in a picture and convey some story even through a single photo. Now in a film, you have several thousands of images, 24 per each second. How fair is it to convey all the information through dialogue and character’s actions? Why not become more artistic by choosing to share information visually. Why not use music to say something? Why not use light, colour, make-up, properties and every other aspect that appears on screen to tell the story? Do use dialogues and do use character’s action, but in a film use all the available crafts equally to convey information, and that is a story!
We all talk about how nepotism is prevalent in the film and media. But there is also the other misconception around cinema, to bring models into the movies. Models are good looking, and they would look great in front of the camera, so Indian directors prefer models over people who can act. People think acting is simple, pretending a few facial expressions. But that is false. Bringing in models just because they are good looking is equally bad as bringing in actors because of their family heritage. An actor is someone who acts. And the term acting is the biggest oxymoron there ever is. To act is not to act but to live in the role. A person who is good at acting is a bad actor because acting is not about acting out but feeling the moment as it is real. It is a skill, and it is out of syllabus for modelling agencies. And it most possibly not a genome that passes through heritage!
Models and relatives of already existing actors usually think acting is all about pretending emotions. Few are an exception, but if you look at the majority of those actor turned models, they only know to pretend a bunch of expressions. And in every film they star, they are same, giving the same expressions in all the movies regardless of their role in the film. They are just bad actors because they are acting and not living in part. Living in character is not an additional skill for acting; it is what acting means. Because of sons, brothers, sisters and models entering acting without any prior training or proper knowledge about acting, ‘living in the role’ became a unique feature, and the one who has it gets treated like a special actor.
But it is the primary qualification for anyone to act in the first place. Now the films are crowded with such people who are not even qualified to play any character. If you watch behind the scenes of a foreign film, you will understand that if any actor failed to live the role, that scene gets added to bloopers and they are made into a memorable video calling ‘so and so actor broke character’. The fans made it even hell in India that, they demand the director to put specific songs and specific dialogues referring to their real-life presence. But if their real-life presence is referred to in a film, how are they even actors? Directors have even started writing stories that match the real-life character of the actors to satisfy their fans. This is why people who want to become actors go to modelling agencies instead of acting schools. How handsome does Joe Pesci look? Can you compare our so called ‘handsome’ actors’ method of acting with Pesci’s? You can’t!
This thoughtless process is how models and heirs have dragged the art called film to the dump. They even have started calling the movies as an ‘industry’. ‘Telugu film industry, Tamil film industry’. Since when did filmmaking become an industry? Why are Indian filmmakers cutting down the art in film and only concentrating on the commercial aspects of a movie? A film is an act of real-life incidents or imagined incidents. You can do a lot of things with a film. Primarily, you make a film to tell a story to convey an emotion. But making films to satisfy an actor’s fans and earn some dough, is cheating the profession. You are not a director just because you have directed a movie. You are a director if you know how to make a film. You do not know how to make a movie; you know the method to satisfy fans and earn money. You are a businessman, and yes, the word industry fits right for you. The things you are making are no films but just montages of fan service. Don’t call them movies and don’t call your ideas of promoting that shit as a vision.
Let film be a film! Hiring models to do acting is like hiring a dental doctor to perform brain surgery!