Art Through Cinema

December 27, 2016 General Studies

A true analysis of The Battle at Elderbush Gulch directed by D. Griffith and The Passion of Joan of Arc directed by Carl Dreyer affirms the fact that anyone can pick up a camera and take a picture or shoot a film. It is the defining mark of a great director, however, who is able to take that camera, and create a true work of cinematic art. Through what is said about D.W. Griffith, he naturally and almost subconsciously was able to make this happen without knowing for the most part what he was doing. Dreyer on the other hand meticulously planned out each scene to illicit the most powerful impact possible on the viewer by taking the cinematic space in the frame and distorting it to the point where the viewer is almost annoyed with the film itself. Not in order to make the viewer angry, but rather to illicit that emotion from a common and otherwise familiar story, to a brand new look and visually moving piece of cinema. It can be said about both men that they are true cinematic geniuses. Since there was almost thirty years between the two films, many advents in making movies were discovered during that time, so one can not evenly compare and contrast the final product, technically speaking. However, one can only point out the differences in the basic ways the films are shot and the meanings behind them.

Griffith was one of, if not the first, to use this method of suggesting there is something more going on in the world outside what the viewer sees in frame. Almost every shot has figures moving from left to right, or right to left, up and down, each one complementing each other. The eye therefore subconsciously recognizes this cinematic rhythm and in turn is pleased by it. To a certain degree, the eye needs to be kept in action in order for it to be pleased. One scene in The Battle at Elderbush Gulch which symbolizes Griffith’s technical proficiency is “The Puppies Will Die Outside.

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