Renowned film director, Alfred Hitchcock once said, “A good film is when the price of the dinner, the theatre admission, and the babysitter were worth it.” Throughout the years, the film has been flourishing along with new technology and new ideas. With these changes, the film has become more popular, with as many as 72% of Americans going to the movies each year. In 2012, Americans paid an average price of $7.96 per ticket to go to the movie theaters with their friends and families, and “going to the movies” has become a date-night classic.
Even so, a common generalization has been made time and time again: “Film is anti-social”. This paper will dispute the claim that film is anti-social through the idea that films are a forum for discussion and debate, they are educational and studied by many, and are considered a site of identity and community formations.
Films can sometimes be considered controversial, and provoke discussions about specific issues.
Good or bad, these moments can band groups of people together to love or hate specific aspects of a film. For example, in 1915, the film Birth of a Nation outraged many African Americans. The controversy of this film was due to the racism that had been portrayed. As a result, the NAACP helped to organize groups of people outside of movie theaters with signs to protest. Though this created a deep divide between races, it still brought groups of people together for a cause. Films can provoke and guide discussion positively as well.
After seeing a movie at a movie theater, many cannot help but discuss their love, hate, or disinterest with the film, but it is undeniable that speaking about the film is popular in modern society, as a third of all communication, in general, is media-related.
Brian Ott, the author of Critical Media Studies, said that “the mass media are, fiand foremostmost, communication technologies that increasingly mediate both what we know and how we know”. As media, in general, is studied by the masses, the film is no exception. People find that there are many things to learn from studying film in-depth, and that is why so many do it — educators, philosophers, sociologists, psychologists, economists, and almost any other field of study find value in researching the film. Films can conneconnectn emotional llevelswithin our communities, and can even lead to parasocial relationships, where we may find that we identify with a certain character or characters.
Film as a site of identity and community formation is an essential aspect of its social importance to the world today. Many films have accumulated cult followings, with tradition and rituals involved. In this case, the film can no doubt be seen as a social media, banding together groups of people who enjoy a film and one another’s company. A widely recognized example of this is The Rocky Horror Picture Show, which calls for audiences to dress as their favorite character and attend late-night screenings. Another popular example could be the Harry Potter franchise, for which fans will stand outside of movie theaters for hours on end, dressed as witches and wizards, just waiting for the next adventure to begin. Franchises like this socially connect to other media as well, through transmedia storytelling, where the hype of upcoming or current films can be heightened by advertisements, games, websites, and more.
Media are very popular in the current day, andise only increasing in popularity as the Hybrid Age that we are in inches toward its full potential. Some still believe that we are in the Information (technology) Age, which may be partially true, but others believe that we are now in this “Hybrid” Age, in which, by 2020, we will “literally live in technology”, according to Kyle Munkittrick. As media itself grows, so does film, as we have seen happen since its creation. As supported by much evidence, it is arguable that films are a forum for discussion and debate, are educational and studied by many, and are considered a site of identity and community formations. According to the evidence and claims made, the film is simply not anti-social.