By Gustavo Buenrostro
Film is still one of the best ways to tell stories and explore characters.
In issue two of the Campus News paper, an opinion was written that television is the best way to tell stories for the consumer.
While television is a great way to tell stories, and in recent years television has become better, it is still not the best way to consume that medium.
Film can tell riveting stories and can explore layered characters in the span of 2 hours and they have been doing it for a lot longer than television has.
Great films like “Double Indemnity” and “Taxi Driver” have a great story and interesting characters.
In “Double Indemnity,” a salesman falls in love with a married woman and conspires to kill her husband in order to cash in on his life insurance and runaway together.
As the story unfolds, the audience finds out both the wife and the salesman are what they seem. A story like this can only work in film format.
If this story was attempted to be put on TV, it wouldn’t work because the story is finite; the characters would become boring after a few seasons.
The characters and the story can only exist in a snapshot.
What makes this film great is that Billy Wilder, the director, used certain techniques and props to give more character background without saying it.
Film uses everything they have to tell a better story.
The films can use lighting to tell something about a character or to further advance the story or to even foreshadow the future events.
In “Double Indemnity,” the director used the lighting in the blinds to show that the salesman is guilty of his crime.
When he is getting questioned about the death of his client, the blinds create shadow stripes across his face and his body to signify that he is guilty and he knows it.
This is not to say that television does not use what they have at their disposal to tell a better story.
The Netflix show “Daredevil” used a one-shot take of Daredevil fighting in a hallway, following him around as he beats up some bad guys.
However, most shows rarely use these techniques because they don’t have the time.
Film’s production time is much longer and has the advantage over TV.
It was argued in the opinion,”Television programs threaten films’ future” that, “The death of a character, while still impactful, fails to pack the same punch as losing a character with hours of connection,” Francisco Portillo, the writer of the opinion.
While it is true the more time you spend with a character, the more invested you become and the more impactful it is when a character dies. However, a film death can be just as impactful. In the film “The Green Mile,” a convict named John Coffey, played by Michael Clarke Duncan, is sentenced to death for the murder of two women. He is big and looks intimidating, but as the film goes on, the audience learns that he is a sweet, kind man who was wrongly convicted of his crime.
Yet, despite knowing the truth, the character is still executed as planned. The impact of his death was strong because Coffey was a good man, he helped others and was innocent. While the film was three hours, it’s still a lot shorter than a television show, where the audience has to grow to care for the character in a much slower pace.
Film is more concise than television. Even the best shows like “Game of Thrones” have filler episodes, where the writers have to come up with something for the characters to do so they can fill their quota of episodes for the season.
This is even more apparent in prime-time shows, where each season has up to 22 episodes.
In film, there are scenes that don’t do anything for the story, but they are few and far between and it is rare that films have those kind of scenes.
While both mediums have strengths and weaknesses, film is a better way to get the story’s lesson and theme across.
In a show, the theme could be muddled by everything that is happening.
In film, the audience would simply have to reflect on it and would know what the film was trying to say.