Film Theory: Innovation–Theory and Practice

How to study novelty and innovation in film?

James Baldwin has observed:

“The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter, even by a millimeter, the way….people look at reality, then you can change it.”

I am interested in movies that differ and deviate–thematically, stylistically, and ideologically–from the norms and conventions of mainstream cinema when they were made.

Most movies tend to reflect their times or to be behind them in terms of ideology, technology, mores and culture, and so on.

My new concern is various kinds of innovation in cinema, manifest in the production of new films that break new grounds in signficant ways.

Innovation can be manifest in any number ways: technology, genre, theme, characterization, and style.

What are  the historical, technological, ideological and socio-political conditions that facilitate discovery, invention, and innovation is the sciences and the arts.

Eileen Morley and Andrew Silver (in a 1977 article in Harvard Business Review)use the word “creativity” to mean technical as well as artistic creativity, realizing that it overlaps what others define as innovation. The notion of creativity is important because there is a high correlation between temporariness and creativity, and between permanence and routine.

Most temporary organizations, such as film units or project teams, exist to develop an idea, a plan, a product, or a service, or to make something happen such as a trip to the moon or a bicentennial celebration.

When groups or teams have completed their task, they dissolve. In contrast, permanent organizations exist to carry out a relatively repetitive manufacturing or service task for which there is a continuing need.

Select Biblio:

Barnett, H.G. Innovation: Basis of Cultural Change. McGraw-Hill, 1953.

Crombie, A. C. (ed). Scientific Change, 1963.

Gaston, Jerry C. Originality and Competition in Science. University of Chicago Press, 1973.

Munroe, Thomas. “What Causes Creative Epochs in the Arts,” Journal of Aesthetic and Art Criticism, 1962.

Rogers, Everett. Diffusion of Innovation, Free Press, 1962.