Why Hollywood gets it wrong: Conflicting conventions

By Gordon Rugg

Movies wilfully ignore and distort facts and truth for a wide range of reasons, most of them all too familiar. The usual suspects include:

  • Cost
  • Ignorance/not caring
  • Going for even bigger special effects than the last movie
  • Soul-less studio executives over-riding the director and/or scriptwriter
  • Going for the perceived lowest common denominator/broadest audience

In this article, I’ll resist the temptation to rant at length about those reasons, and will instead look at a less obvious problem which has some interesting underlying theory. It takes us on a journey across thousands of years of art, via some detours into geometry. It’s a variant on the problem of social perspective clashing with linear perspective (which might possibly be why it hasn’t received much attention in the past). Anyway, here’s an image that incorporates some key examples, after which I’ll unpack the concepts involved, and briefly outline some of their implications for cinema and for the wider world.

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