I am time and again impressed by the boldness of the videos on social media. In one Snapchat video by @louisparcell captioned, “you won’t believe what I found in my bed,” a bed mattress was lifted up to reveal a human face. This was done with two shots, craftily edited together, which is an effective and creative use of the cinematic language and the audience’s established reaction to achieve surprise. Other times, short video creators can clarify that the same person is playing several roles in one video by using contrasting camera angles to approach different roles, making one of them seem on the left, the other on the right. In a creative and humorous way, the cost of making short videos has been greatly reduced.

Another expression that newly emerged with social media is the usage of memes in films. For example, a @shineyspoon Snapchat video captioned “The Friend that Never Says No To Leftovers” uses a rat meme to indicate the friend’s growing hunger and eagerness to eat the leftover burger. Short video creators are always pushing the language of film to the most expressive brink, with subject matters that are particularly close to our everyday experiences. I often wonder what beautiful works of art would be made if these creative minds geared not towards the notion of popularity, but towards an authentic perception of their true selves, and of the world?

Film is never limited. They do not merely tell stories, but they also become essays, letters, or diaries. Hommage à Zgougou (2002) is an adorable short film about Agnès Varda’s cat, Zgougou. Besides using the most ordinary, everyday images, it unhurriedly recalls past memories associated with the cat. The film freely jumps from present to past and past to present, as lightly as the cats’ steps. Godard’s Je Vous Salue, Sarajevo (1993) only presents two photographs from beginning to end, yet it is an insightful political commentary. It was striking… The photos were shown fragment by fragment, only pulling away to reveal the full view at the end, just like history. The voice of the narration sets a heavy and formidable tone, while the content connects the one event in the photo to a timeless conflict between “a rule, and an exception”, between “culture” and “art.” Indeed, in film, there are many rules, many conventions, and many exceptions.

Brilliant films can be made with the most common electronic device—our phones—making film production within reach of our daily life. Many of us have already made numerous films, so to speak. There was a short video made by Concord Academy students that amazed me, as shown in the pictures below. In this video, while the chaotic mind of high school students is expressed in striking dance moves, the camera questions, “who is the subject?” It is the giant face. We are looking into the mind of this giant face in the forefront, contorted into the shape of a pear, with a big mouth and arched eyebrows. It is silly, but who knows how much anxiety, bewilderment, and listlessness the person behind this face is experiencing? The fact that it is so close that it fills the whole screen instantly initiates a sense of familiarity and attachment. By far, the feeling is limited to a singular subject, but turning the camera, we see a row of other students wriggling around. This expands the reach of the feeling from a single high school student to include a large group of teenagers. It is an ubiquitous state of mind among many teenagers—uncertainty, jolly jest, aggression, bewilderment And surprisingly, this video is only 6 seconds long. Expressing such compact feelings in such short length, this video again shows the effectiveness and profoundness of the language of film. It also shows that film is deeply rooted in our daily lives—it is not just a tool for recreation, or for earning money and fame; it is a language that we can use to express what we truly feel.