Rudolph Arnheim’s theories of perception and film are correlated with the visual experience. Deeply rooted in Gestalts psychology, Arnheim believes that language is second to the brain’ intrinsic visual communication: perception. Arnheim’s theories suggest that silent film is the pinnacle of the art form. He reasons that without the distraction of sound, film can explore the expressive possibilities intended in the character actions and their gestures. Arnheim viewed expressionism as enhancing the deeply rooted ideas of perception by dissociating realty. Although Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush is presented in a realistic style with a realist narrative Arnheim’s approves of this film. His reasoning suggests that despite the stylistic attributes of the film Chaplin expresses his emotional states visually which triggers the brain’s perceptive abilities.

Arnheim suggests the sound film would not have the same visual impact as silent due to the interferences of the brains cognitive response. However with the advancement of time technology stepped away from the awkward, uninspired and restricted possibilities of early sound film. Today the lack of sound draws attention to the film and away from the involved perception. However the film It is so convincingly perceptual that after a week of screening the film I could not recall that It was silent. It is interesting to note the conscious and subconscious levels at which perception can influence our cognitive abilities and their accurate recall. Perhaps the strong associative link with visuals can over power the lack of sound. With a great performance from Clara Bow the film is quickly and smoothly absorbed through the brains visual processors. Only upon later introspection does the lack of sound become apparent. However much to Arnheim’s credit, cognitive perception remains the strongest link in our involvement, understanding and recall of the film.

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