Monday, July 9, 2007

Leo Tolstoy on Film

I found a pretty cool quote from Leo Tolstoy the other day. The great 19th century Russian author saw the immense impact film would have once it emerged on the world stage - and he died in 1910 at a time when critics scoffed at the primitive cinema technology and dubbed it mindless entertainment for the masses, many stating emphatically that it will never rise to the level of art. Tolstoy, on the other hand, prophetically foretold the revolution film would bring to the artistic world.

“You will see,” Tolstoy writes, “that this little clicking contraption with the revolving handle will make a revolution in our life—the life of writers. It is a direct attack on the old methods of literary art. We shall have to adapt ourselves to the shadowy screen and to the cold machine. A new form of writing will be necessary. I have thought of that and I can feel what is coming.”

From this cold sense of foreboding, Tolstoy continues cheerily “But I rather like it. This swift change of scene, this blending of emotion and experience—it is closer to life. In life, too, changes and transitions flash by before our eyes, and emotions of the soul are like a hurricane. The cinema has divined the mystery of motion. And that is greatness.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

what is the original source of this quote? just curious.