Balazs and The Creative Camera

In Bela Balazs first essay on the creative camera, Balazs challenges the notion that film is only a photographic reproduction of a “histrionic performance. “Balazs describes how what we actually see on film is not exactly what we would see if we had witnessed the scene being filmed in studio, there is a certain presence that film does not just ” reproduce but produce, and through which it becomes an independent, basically new art after all”( Balazs 126). A new psychological effect is achieved through the means of changing distance, the detail taken out of the whole, the close-up, the changing angle, and the cutting ( Balazs 126). This new psychological effect is identification, we see through the characters eyes, we feel what the character feels, we essentially become that character for the length of the film. Balazs interestingly points out that the characters on-screen “see with our eyes” which is just a different way to look at identification I believe. To me it means that not only do we see through the characters eyes on screen through the lens of the camera, but the characters are in turn seeing through our eyes because our eye is the camera and that is the only viewpoint they also have. Balazs feels that identification” has never been present in any other art form, so it is film’s ” artistic novelty”( Balazs 127).  Does Balazs believe that the “mechanical” era of cinema is over, or is it implied that it will never be totally over because the mechanical aspects of film must be manipulated and used in order to elicit identification?  He puts a lot of emphasis on cutting, close-up, changing angle, all things that are actual mechanical aspectsa and movements of the camera with the ultimate goal of identification, mentioned in paragraph 3 on page 126.

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