Cinematic Aspects Of Cave Art Essay Research

Cinematic Aspects Of Cave Art Essay, Research Paper

Kristine McCarthy October 1, 2000

Cinematic Aspects of Cave Art

by Edward Watchel

I think Watchel formed a very good, accurate

arguement in saying that cave paintings are cinematic.

Much like movies, when cave paintings are seen in a

certain way they show qualities that can be seen as

cinematic. Once you look at cave paintings under a

firelight things are seen much differently. They seem to

move, disappear, reapper, and even change shape and

color, just like a movie. When seen in this light these

paintings no longer seem to be scribbled and disorderly,

but rather very well thought out. Because of the

irregular surfaces on the cave walls, light sources that

flicker, and a moving eye, movie-like effects are created

in the paintings. This makes images visible from some

viewpoints and not from others. When surfaces are

irregular and unpredictable, and when the cave painter

has intentionally used these surfaces as part of his

work, even the trained and restricted eye of modern man

can be fooled and delighted under the proper conditions.

Maybe these paleolithic artists had this cinematc style

of cave painting in mind from the start. It’s amazing to

think that people thought to paint “movement” so long


If expression in oral cultures tends to be

redundant, why would it change when writing is invented?

Well, once writing rolled around there was no need to be

repetitive when actually writing because the words are

there for the reader to look at over and over as much as

he or she wants. Writing changed many features of oral

thought and expression. Redundancy was already

discussed, however, another thing writing changed was a

rhythmic pattern. The pattern was used to make it easier

for listeners to remember what was said. However, once

things are written down there is no longer a need to

remember it; it’ll always be right there for you to see.

Another feature of oral communication that writing

changed was how formulaic it was. It needed to be this

way in order for listeners to follow without getting

confused, because unlike with writing a listener can’t

“go back” to see what was missed. Writing isn’t as

emotionally involving as oral communicaiton is. When

someone is actually speaking to you the sound and tones

to that persons voice really captures a listener, whereas

with writing it is easier for the mind to just wander off

the topic or to not be as interested in it. Writing has

changed so many aspects of oral thought and expression,

but for the most part it has made life much easier.


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