What Makes Cinema a Different Art?

by Erica Loop
Cinema synthesizes many aspects of other art forms.

Cinema synthesizes many aspects of other art forms.

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Ingmar Bergman once said, "No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls." Film, or cinema, is a strikingly distinct medium that transcends genres and styles in a very different way than other types of art. From classic black-and-white films to modern masterpieces, cinema blends aesthetics, technology and a direct appeal to human emotion like no other art form does.


Although technology is slowly creeping into an array of art forms, from installation pieces to modern ballet, since its inception cinema has been dependent upon modern technology, most notably that of the movie camera itself. From the early experiments by Edison with moving images to complicated modern-day special effects, computer animation and digital technology, cinema is like no other art form in terms of the way it has brought technology to the forefront of popular culture.


The range of human emotions is a primary focus of many different art forms. From an angst-ridden expressionist painting to the joy expressed through the written word, almost every genre has its own means for expressing human feelings. Unlike other art forms, cinema is not only able to capture a range of emotion, but also to ignite feelings within a viewer through a multi-sensory approach. Cinema provides an audio-visual medium to convey feelings to a viewer's eyes and ears in a very immediate manner. Getting up close with an actor portraying a powerful part and playing your favorite gleeful moment over and over again allow you to experience an emotional intensity that differs from other more mental art forms such as literature.

Range and Reach

While it would be nice to think that every person has easy access to a museum or concert hall, this is frequently not the case. Unlike many other art forms, cinema is an easily accessible medium that almost anyone can view with little difficulty. Whether viewing a film means taking your daughter to the local cineplex to see the latest cartoon extravaganza or visiting the indie house for an abstract interpretation of life, cinema has a broad range and reach into popular culture. Additionally, between satelitte broadcasting, cable television, DVDs and the Internet, film is constantly accessible right in your very own home.

Synthesis of the Arts

Cinema is an all-encompassing art form that draws from the rich traditions of the theater, literature, music, visual art forms and at times dance. From the instrumentation of a silver screen score to the artistry of set decoration and costume design, film has the ability to integrate the arts into every aspect of its production. Cinema, in fact, cannot function without a combination of these forms. Additionally, cinema goes above and beyond a traditional synthesis of the arts, such as the opera composer Richard Wagner dreamed of, as it is the only form that unites all of the forms through the use of modern technology.

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