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Serie: VERY SHORT INTRODUCTIONS
Film is arguably the dominant art form of the twentieth century. In this Very Short Introduction, Michael Wood offers a wealth of insight into the nature of film, considering its role and impact on society as well as its future in the digital age. As Wood notes, film is many things, but it has become above all a means of telling stories through images and sounds. The stories are often quite false, frankly and beautifully fantastic, and they are sometimes insistently said to be true. Indeed, many condemn movies as an instrument of illusion, an emphatic way of seeing what is not there. And others celebrate the reverse: that film brings us closest to the world as it actually is. "Photography is truth," a character says in a film by Jean-Luc Godard. "And cinema is the truth twenty-four times per second." But they are stories in either case, and there are very few films, Wood observes, even in avant-garde art, that don't imply or quietly slip into narrative.