Synthetic Cinema: Leaving the Real World

  • Wheeler Winston Dixon


What precisely is “synthetic cinema”? It’s filmmaking that’s motivated by the profit motive alone, devoid of any genuine artistry, designed solely to make money. When digital cinema first appeared, computer-generated effects were already a reality, although they were used sparingly in fantasy, action, and adventure films, and practical cinematography—shot on actual film, of course—was still the norm for mainstream cinema. But with the shift to digital cinematography and the rise of comic book cinema, the temptation to amp up the proceedings with lavish computer-generated spectacle proved irresistible to both directors and audiences, to the point that we are now so far removed from the real that I would posit we have entered a new age of movies—the era of synthetic cinema.


Digital cinema CGI Artificial imagery Special effects Realism 

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wheeler Winston Dixon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA

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