It is undoubtedly apparent to society that what is seen in movies and television is not reality. It is rather, a text comprised of sound and images, projected onto a screen.
This applies to even the most ‘factual’ movie and TV programs, such as documentaries and news reports as they cannot show us the world as it really is. They must be carefully edited and packaged to offer viewers a specific impression or idea about the subject material.
The truth is that what is seen on the screen by viewers are merely ‘versions of reality‘, meaning there are multiple ways of representing and thinking about the world we live in.
Realist films create a sense of reality through specific-filmmaking techniques. They utilise real locations and detailed settings. The storylines are generally straightforward and logical. The style of acting is naturalistic. Lighting and camerawork present information to the audience without any obvious tricks that draw attention.
Realism has a long history in the Western world that dates back to ancient Greece.
Following this tradition, the earliest film-makers also aimed for realism. For example, the first films by the French film-makers Auguste and Louis Lumiere, made in 1895, were simple scenes of daily life caught on camera, such as people travelling to and from work. Thus it is an exemplar of realism.
In modern times, most mainstream films rely on elements of realism – including fantasy and science fiction movies that depict stories set in other times and places.
It must be noted that realism and reality are two different things. Realism is a style that uses codes and conventions, which viewers have came to learn to interpret as realistic.