Whether we are viewing the latest blockbuster at the local multiplex or a black-and-white art-house flick, most of us enjoy some form of cinema. From smuggling movies to director cameos, these fascinating facts about cinema will surprise you.
The term cinema refers to the illusion of movement that is created by a series of still images that are run together on a screen. It has been used to describe everything from widescreen extravaganzas to short films shown on YouTube. The word itself derives from the Greek kinema, meaning motion. Filmmaking dates back hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until photographer Eadweard Muybridge developed a way to capture moving images and display them that the cinematic medium really took off.
In the late 19th century, as the public’s initial fascination with film waned, filmmakers began to experiment with its potential as an artistic medium. One example was Parisian theatre owner Georges Melies, who used special effects such as flowers turning into women and people disappearing with puffs of smoke to create a sense of magic on the screen.
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By the 1950s, as more and more people bought televisions and fewer went to the cinema, directors worked hard to encourage moviegoers to return to theatres with spectacular productions. The result was epic, grandiose movies like the 1957 classic The Wizard of Oz, which was shot in black and white but then transformed into stunning technicolour at the end.