Hollywood may have proclaimed itself the entertainment capital of the world, but Europe prides itself on being the birthplace of cinema. While these two worlds often converge, there are significant differences that separate these multifaceted industries in terms of storytelling, filmmaking techniques, and how business and politics play a role in the success of films.
Cinema is undoubtedly one of the most revered art forms of mankind. While watching movies is a simple hobby for the most part, there are people who consider it a way of life. Since films gained worldwide recognition, their goal of simply entertaining people has become a legitimate form of validation and cultural pride of a particular place or country.
Although there are many debates as to when and where cinema began, its roots can be traced back to 1895 in Paris, France, where the Lumière brothers first presented and projected moving images to an audience using their own invention called the Cinematograph. That being said, most of the early stage films were set in Europe.
The early European industry consisted mainly of different countries such as France, Germany and Italy. He initiated cinematic movements such as French Impressionism, German Expressionism, Soviet Montage, and Italian Neorealism that greatly influenced and changed the way stories are written, filmed, and presented to audiences.
“European cinema is mostly low budget and artistic in nature. French, German and Italian films are generally shot in natural light with a vivid depiction of European life. “
European narratives tend to be slower and based on realism as opposed to the commercial spectacle that Hollywood seeks. He’s not afraid to talk about controversial or taboo topics and has more complex and relevant stories that comment on the human condition. In short, European cinema is known to be the breeding ground for arthouse, experimental, social, political and historical narratives.
In short, European cinema is known to be the breeding ground for arthouse, experimental, social …
Due to the artistic freedom given to filmmakers who allow them to control and personally express their vision, European films are distinctly known for their meticulously crafted visual aesthetic that surprisingly combines minimalism and perfectly framed, highly imaginative shots while maintaining the world. realistic and rich. that the characters inhabit. Unlike American films which rely heavily on prominent celebrities or people with a large following to attach to their projects, European films generally use non-actors, especially in independent films to maintain their authenticity.
“Beyond a place of response, of experimentation, of expression and of reprisals, European cinema is a place of reminding us of the potential and variation of cinema which therefore makes it infinitely more important and useful than the films that come out of Hollywood.
On the other hand, American cinema operates on a completely different system. A particular characteristic that separates the industry from others is its focus on producing films not only to entertain or serve as a form of expression, but rather to provide commercial production and with a high return on investment. In its early days, the industry was heavily controlled by major studios such as Paramount, Warner Bros, RKO Pictures, MGM, and 20th Century Fox. Directors, screenwriters and actors were governed by studios or producers working for these giants who handle all aspects of the film such as story, cinematography, market appeal and cast to name a few. , leaving little room for personal creativity.
American films are known for their exceptional ability to entertain, create fictional worlds and produce narratives that span a wide range of genres.
“A serious distinction that affects the types of films made is the fact that American films are generally controlled by the producer / studio, while European films are controlled by directors. In most European films, the directors try to create something new and more artistic, and they take risks and expose themselves. It is rare in the United States.
American films are known for their exceptional ability to entertain, create fictional worlds, and produce narratives that span a wide range of genres. It’s also home to blockbuster movies, elaborate sets and production studios, and glamorous stars we’re crazy about. Its strength in particular is following a tight narrative structure or formula that incorporates elements of the story such as plot, character development, and powerful dialogue that would take audiences on a roller coaster of emotions and satisfy. finally his viewing expectations. American screenwriters learn to adhere to a proven structure founded on Aristotle’s Poetics, which is the foundation of dramatic storytelling.
Films straddling the two ponds
There is an outdated notion that European films, due to their slowness and seriousness, end up being snubbed and labeled as arthouse films in America. Finding a distribution and an audience in America was then a far-fetched idea for most European filmmakers. Although in reality, many European filmmakers have made waves and defied the expectations of the American film market.
Classic and contemporary filmmakers such as Ingmar Bergman, Billy Wilder, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Luc Goddard, Pedro Almodóvar, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog, Andrei Tarkovsky among others paved the way for European cinema to be recognized and respected in the competitive world of American cinema.
Movies such as The bicycle thief (1948), Schindler’s list (1993), Gladiator (2000), and The King’s Speech (2010) are among the European films that have received the highest accolades at the prestigious annual Academy Awards. Not to mention that European films and filmmakers have greatly influenced the style of award-winning directors such as Martin Scorsese, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch and Steven Spielberg, among others.
In a conversation with Europeans in my film network, American films such as Sunset Boulevard (1950), pulp Fiction (1994), The great Lebowski (1998), Rebel without cause (1955), The sixth sense (1999), Magnolia (1999), Titanic (1997), chick films and blockbuster and superhero adventure films were huge influences in their childhood as well as the basis for the analysis of story structures in film school. .
Today, the US and European industries are merging more into each other due to the massive reform and evolution of society which directly influence their viewing interests and preferences. With the rise of major social movements, the stories and people portrayed onscreen better reflect the diversity, culture, and issues audiences want to see. It is no longer limited to classic American and European tales of the whites and the privileged, but rather the universal and real struggles of humans from all walks of life and all corners of the world. This is just the start of the fight and we have the chance to witness positive changes and the fusion of unique techniques from both industries to tell stories that impact lives and make the world a better place, movie to movie. that time.