The discussion about film as an artform did not start from the beginning of the time when this medium appeared.During the first two decades film was not considered as an art form. Rather itwas an entertainment or attraction which was separated to the different genres.What shows us a basic differencebetween film and the other art forms such as: architecture, painting, music andpoetry or literature as stated by the later theories.
Is when film became availableto people it was considered a social phenomenal. Traditional art forms were productsfor and consumed by elite, high class and the bourgeoisie until the beginningof the 20th century. “Mechanical reproduction of art changes thereaction of the masses toward art”1,- stated Walter Benjamin in 1935.He well-defined an essence of photography and film in his article The Workof Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction and described film as aphotographic media. Social meaning of film was immediately noted by the communistsin Russia who constructed a new country during 1920th. Lenin announced thatfilm was the most important of all the arts for them2.
Some of the soviet film makers and theorists as Eisenstein, Vertov, Bachtindescribed montage, shooting, editing, work with diegetic materials,constructing frame, etc. which cause to the formalist school in the filmtheory. In particular, you can find it in the work Film as Art by RudolfArnheim. In the first decade of the last century some film theories werewritten, which were close from the modernism. Such kinds of works are RicciotoCanudo’s The Birth of Six Arts in 1911 and The Art of Moving Picture in1915 by American Vachel Lindsay. Canudo called cinema “plastic art in motion”3and discussed the gripping of this new art form the three-dimensional(architecture, sculpture and painting) art forms and the temporal (poetry,music and dance) arts.
1 Benjamin,Walter, “The Work of Art in an Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935), in:Continental Aesthetics. Romanticism to Postmodernism, An anthology, BlackwellPublishing, Oxford, U.K., 2001, p. 173.2 Stam,Robert, Film Theory, An Introduction., Oxford: Blackwell Publication, 2000, p.32.3 Stam,Robert, Film Theory, An Introduction., Oxford: Blackwell Publication, 2000, p.28.