Dazzling on the Silver Screen

By Jake Gloth

Crystals are dazzling. They sparkle, shine, and transfix the eye, but they also are entwined with a similarly captivating form of visual entertainment, films. As a society, we are absolutely enthralled by films. They are glamorous works of entertainment and wonder that mesmerize us. The world of movies is full of complex, diverse, and bubbly moving parts inside and outside of the camera. 

Outside the camera, a new film by Mark Cousins called The Story of Film: A New Generation explores contemporary films that are revolutionizing the industry through sparkling new techniques and themes.

Inside the camera, glass has long been used to capture our dreams. Before glass became easily available, crystal was used in glasses and watch faces (though not in cameras), but now in this future age, crystal is making a comeback. It is redefining the look and feel of these image-capturing devices with new liquid crystal lenses. 

In his new documentary, the Irish director and writer, Mark Cousins, focuses on the charming films of the 2010s and the emerging techniques and themes that defined them. To exhibit the worldly nature of films, the documentary delves into moving pictures from a variety of countries. It showcases the dazzling works of filmmakers from Asia, the Middle East, the Americas, Africa, and Europe.  

Cousins focuses on what really makes films shine as an art form. He goes into the new techniques and methods that creatives are using to tell glamorous stories. Some of the notable examples were Marvel blockbuster Black Panther, the multi-award-winning Korean film Parasite, and Lucrecia Martel’s Zama.

In particular, Cousins probes into the differences between film industries across the world. He compares fight scenes in Hollywood Mafia movies and Bollywood action thrillers by focusing on their unique musical and camera choices.

In a technological sense, Cousins muses on what the film industry can expect in the 2020s. He delves into the “digital century” and how streaming is changing the movie-going experience. 

Like streaming, crystal is completely overhauling the photographic landscape with liquid crystal lenses. You may recognize this phrase within the acronym, LCD, which stands for Liquid Crystal Display. LCD is one of the most common forms of screens and it makes up many of the TVs, monitors, and clocks that you use every day. Liquid crystals can change colours easily, so they are used to make the colours you see on your screen.

A company called Scope Photonics in Ontario, Canada has developed a way to use this technology in camera lenses. They are working on a liquid crystal lens with 10x zoom that would remove many of the problems that come from zooming in. 

Have you ever noticed that when you zoom in on your phone, the photo becomes blurry? This new technology would solve that problem, allowing you to capture crisp pictures from far away. In the film industry, this could mean large and expensive camera lenses have a tiny (in size) competitor. 

So both inside the camera and on the screen, the film industry is evolving. Cousins’ documentary focuses on the rising themes and stories in films while liquid crystal technology is revolutionizing the camera. Together, they are dazzling audiences on the silver screen.

If you are interested in the evolution of films in the 2010s, The Story of Film: A New Generation by Mark Cousins releases on Dec. 17 in cinemas in the U.K. and Ireland.

Did you enjoy “A Crystallized Silver Screen”? You may also like “Recreationally Bold“.