Impact of Cinema on Society and Popular Culture

Posted on April 14, 2020

Cinema, as a highly influential mode of art, undergoes significant changes due to globalization and technological advances sweeping across the world. Film production is a complicated process with multi-dimensional nature that unites specialists from different spheres. On that end, cinematography can be defined as an industry that attempts to combine creativity, technology, and business in a way that would benefit all the parties in the course of the collaboration. Films are responsible for entertainment and creativity so that the filmmaking industry is in the constant process of changes and transformations designed to adjust it to the contemporary social and cultural realities prevailing in the world. A wide range of directors and professionals engaged in the production process strive to create a level playing field that would raise an art value of films and establish a profound understanding of their higher purpose. Therefore, due to the continually changing landscape and multi-dimensional nature of filmmaking, the industry is in permanent dialogue with culture and society that make films an idiosyncratic mode of art.

Сinema captures the zeitgeist of the era and helps to understand different cultures all over the world. Not only do filmmakers attempt to immerse the audience into the world of characters, but they also illustrate some of the most complex and grave social issues that are bound to appear in the course of the plot development. As a result, films serve as a source of evidence and information on the way people lived in the past. Thus, they bridge the gap between various generations and provide the viewers with an opportunity to analyze and understand the reasons for certain traditions or historical events. It enriches culture and tolerance of masses since people, regardless of their background or social status, can acquire a better vision of lifestyle and mindset of their counterparts from the past generations. Films that capture historical events and tell stories of customs create a hidden sense of a zeitgeist that empowers viewers and can present them a chance to explore different cultural phenomena on a more profound level. On that end, cinema establishes a vision of a bigger picture that goes far beyond time constraints and borders, thereby influencing and shaping public opinion.

Films are a unique form of creativity that unites a large number of specialists and fans all over the globe. On the one hand, there is no way one particular person can achieve success in the film production process without cooperation with others, so every team member contributes to the ultimate progress of a film. On the other hand, fans of different movies or film studios can connect and discuss movies via various digital platforms and the Internet. Cinema attracts an increasing number of people who are willing to commit their time, effort, and energy for the sake of creating a truly valuable piece of art. When it comes to the functioning of contemporary society, the ability to drive discussion and sparkle debate on controversial topics dramatically contributes to the significance of the filmmaking process. In other words, movies inspire creativity and self-reflection, develop imagination, and engage people in conversations. Therefore, cinema constitutes a crucial part of popular culture that helps to establish a higher level of cooperation and promotes social cohesion.

The film industry has created a foundation for the increase in employment and provided opportunities for career growth for many specialists. In such a way, in the course of different stages of production, a crew of film professionals engaged in this creative activity can encompass thousands of people contributing to the final version of the movie. Although the majority of these people do not appear on the screen and cannot be referred to cast, they still play a significant role in the production and constitute the very foundation of the creative process in film. The number of specialists in a crew includes a director who takes responsibility for the essential processes on the film set and creates a visual depiction of a story. There is a variety of different departments that play a unique role in the process, including the art department, which is responsible for sets, graphic art, costumes, and haircut styles. Besides, the visual effects department significantly contributes to film production because it helps to enrich visual images and create certain illusions. All of them take part in the process of film production at its different stages and help to achieve the film an ultimate success upon distribution. As a result, cinema constitutes a vibrant community that employs a large number of specialists from various domains, thereby boosting economic growth.

Films create a platform for the development of a new level of entertainment. They provide people with a unique form of escapism that helps to delve into the life of the protagonists and forget about personal issues at least for a short period. One of the most noticeable aspects of cinema is its entertaining qualities that make an emotional connection with viewers. Captivating stories and unexpected twists of plot present in movies appeal to the masses and can both reflect existing realities or create vivid imaginary worlds designed to keep viewers watching. There is a broad spectrum of film genres, including documentaries, horror films, or musicals that appeal to the particular category of the viewers. In this way, the audience canfind a shelter from life difficulties and limitations and embark on an adventure that would hold the breath and bring some risk to often monotonous lifestyle. According to Bordwell, “Cinema is an art because it offers filmmakers ways to design experiences for viewers, and those experiences can be valuable regardless of their pedigree. Films for audiences both small and large belong to that very inclusive art we call film or cinema” (Bordwell 327). In addition to an emotional connection with the viewers and its primarily entertaining features, cinema raises awareness on various issues, trends, and tendencies. It educates people on the way humans and society function. As a result, cinema can be defined as an idiosyncratic form of escapism designed to establish an emotional bond with the audience and a source of knowledge that sparkles interest and curiosity.

Cinema alters the way people approach their existence and society in the course of their lives. It can change the mindset, values, and beliefs of the viewers when they start to make everyday decisions and approach issues in a new manner. For instance, the film Into the Wild, released in 2007 and directed by Sean Penn, tells a story of a young graduate who tries to break from the vicious circle and quits conventional truth imposed by American society and capitalism. Christopher McCandless, a free-spirited globetrotter, hits the road in order to explore his personality in life without any obligations. As the story unfolds, he encounters a number of characters who help him to find peace and purpose on a life-changing journey, which is bound to turn out to be a tragedy. The film is based on a true story, and it challenges the way modern people approach their lives and makes the viewers re-evaluate an entire worldview, which is often filled with controversial values and beliefs. Into the Wild explores the human ability to protest against the system and shed light on the freedom of choice. Therefore, cinema is responsible for showing different perspectives on life, thereby creating role models and tools that help to change personality.

As one of the primary objectives of cinema is to entertain the audience, film studios and stakeholders of the production process benefit from the commercial success of the movie. As a result, strong demand for new films creates economic prosperity and has a positive impact on the culture of a particular state. Not only do films significantly contribute to the accumulation of financial assets of different companies, but they can also improve the county’s image on the international arena and sparkle collaboration among various artists all over the world.

Given a strong interconnection between the success of film production and its financial foundation, independent films gain less attention from the masses, and it creates a dominance of poor-quality content in the contemporary film industry. It significantly deteriorates the image of cinema as an art mode and makes a strong emphasis on the commercial aspect of its functioning. However, demand for blockbusters or action-packed films can eventually lead to the development of technological advancements, which change the way specialists approach film production beyond all recognition. The ability to employ different visual effects and creatively approach visual components of the film empowers directors and provides them with more elaborate tools for storytelling.

Globalization has dramatically influenced the way the audience understands cinema. Nowadays, people from all over the world have access to films. It makes cinema studios as powerful as they have been never before (Barber). With a broad spectrum of visual and audio instruments, directors and ordinary people can tell their stories in a visual form, thereby driving discussion and addressing the most pressing issues. In addition, residents of different countries can delve into an unfamiliar culture and discover new horizons. It makes filmmaking a tool that unites people and teaches them valuable lessons. For instance, films can shed light on such issues as inequality, poverty, discrimination, racism, war, addiction, class, environment, civil rights, violence, technology, and mental illness. With the help of stories, cinema covers a variety of different topics and motives that should educate people and nurture a sense of acceptance within society. It can depict the lifestyle of people from different cultural backgrounds, thereby eliminating hostility and encouraging a more conscious approach towards life. Therefore, cinema can benefit the growth of communities and develop a new level of social relationships.

Films can have both positive and negative effects on the masses. Cinema is a deeply ingrained part of popular culture that has a direct impact on society’s functioning. Thus, being strongly subjective as every form of art, a film can embody the personal vision of a director, which is often not supported by facts. Unless it is a documentary, filmmaking implies a free and creative interpretation of life, so the director can purposefully distort reality and manipulate knowledge and evidence of certain truths. Nevertheless, cinema is a powerful tool of influence that can be employed for the sake of propaganda and political manipulations. Film changes the way people think and approach problems, so directors and characters in movies can have a considerable impact on the political and social life of the country.

Besides, coverage of certain types of characters with an emphasis on extensive masculine or feminine traits of characters or physical features can create a higher level of inequality on the grounds of gender. As a result, certain films can celebrate deeply embedded gender prejudices. This tendency is also applicable to the issue of racism. Unethical behavior of directors can result in distortion of facts and establish double standards for people of different ages, genders, and social statuses. Cinema adapts to the continually changing landscape and can provide the audience with high-quality content that debunks misconceptions and provokes further discussion of issues on a different scale.

Despite the fact that they create powerful and captivating images, the viewers are often exposed to high levels of violence and hatred present in movies in different forms. People, especially when it comes to representatives of young generations, tend to mimic behavior patterns of protagonists, and it can significantly deteriorate the quality of their lives and cultivate bad habits. Smoking scenes continue to be a problem that attracts the attention of publicity and sparkles great controversy on the presence of tobacco in movies. As a result, a large number of filmmakers consider the possibility of the prohibition of smoking in films as a violation of free speech (Chalabi). Still, the World Health Organization indicates that there is a connection between the development of addiction in teenagers and the glamorization of smoking scenes (Chalabi). Therefore, films can have an adverse impact on the viewers’ attitudes towards their health and drive the development of bad habits such as smoking. There is a strong need for the audience to approach every film with a grain of salt and critically analyze all the implications of particular visual experience in order to avoid possible setbacks in the future.

All things considered, the film industry is an indispensable part of contemporary culture that continually transforms the way people act and think. It is a unique platform for creativity and self-reflection that significantly contributes to the understanding of human psychology. Besides, cinema is a form of escapism and entertainment that strives to establish a close emotional connection with the audience. It also creates vibrant communities of specialists engaged in this field and fans of different movies from based in various corners of the world. As a result, the film industry drives employment and encourages a sense of acceptance and tolerance within society. Films educate and deepen knowledge about different cultures and traditions. Besides, they can sparkle discussions about the most pressing political, social, and economic issues, thereby triggering more effective solutions. Strong demand for new films is bound to positively impact the economics of the country and encourage advancements in technology. Nevertheless, cinema can also have an adverse effect on people’s lives. There is a controversial issue of scenes with extensive violence and negative behavior patterns that can provoke specific models of conduct in people. Besides, films can promote propaganda and manipulation of facts, thereby distorting reality and deceiving people. It makes the impact of cinema on society’s functioning and human psychology rather multi-layered and dubious.

Works Cited
Barber, Nicholas. “Is This a New Golden Age of Cinema?”. BBC.Com, 2016,

Bordwell, David et al. Film Art: An Introduction. 11th ed., Mcgraw-Hill Education, 2016, pp. 324-343.

Chalabi, Mona. “Smoking In Movies: Film-Makers Just Can’t Kick the Habit”. The Guardian, 2016,

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