Week Two: Arnheim’s Artful Advice

Rudolf Arnheim talks about how much of a success silent films have been in Film Theory & Criticism. Arnheim makes a few points on the advantages and disadvantages of silent films. One of the advantages he pointed out was that silent films make the audience pay more attention to the film. It doesn’t have dialogue so the audience really has to keep their eye on the screen to know exactly whats going on. Silent films to Arnheim was a great creation because of the many perspectives it brings. The Gold Rush by Charlie Chaplin presents many examples of the advantages of silent films. The idea of silent films is to combine motion pictures with recorded sound and make a film. No dialogue is allowed in a silent film. Chaplin presents this in The Gold Rush. Arnheim admired the film because Chaplin uses body language and motions to demonstrate a series of actions.

One has to be very smart to make a film only using body movements. I personally wouldn’t watch a silent film only because you really have to pay attention to every detail to actually know what exactly is happening in the film. It takes a lot for even an actor to be in a silent film because the point is to make the audience understand what’s going on without using words. I agree with Arnheim when he writes about how silent films allow the audience to be more open to the idea of looking into a film rather than just listening to dialogue.

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