The Rise of Hyper-Realism

There seems to be a growing trend in millennial produced cinema and television to take real life experiences and events and bring them to the screen (Girls, Master of None, Mr. Roosevelt, Lady Bird, and more, are based closely on the writer’s real life). While many of these works are widely acclaimed, is there a downside to this style of filmmaking? Can we continue to pull out unique insights from films that represent life as we know it? Or is fantasy more effective? What is it about seeing something essentially identical to our lives or our friends/families lives that stands out to us?

  • A good topic and good questions. I'd like to see this essay. – Joseph Cernik 6 years ago
  • Interesting. I think part of the discussion needs to be about whether photography is, in and of itself, about “realism”. It’s a well-worn point to make, but Picasso’s “Guernica” can be argued to feel a more “realistic” expression of the visceral horror of the Spanish Civil War than many photographs. And if the “realism” of photographs lies significantly in the medium’s ability to capture a fleeting and ephemeral moment, does that change when the fleeting, ephemeral moment is artfully and skilfully staged? (Or, indeed, reproduced, as in much of the photo-realistic art on Ivan Terzic’s blog; as you quite rightly remind us, photo-realism is not the sole preserve of the 2D or 3D digital arts) I understand completely the attraction of photo-realism, particularly in archaeological reconstructions. After all, photo-realism is primarily about detail, and some of the data which archaeology captures is highly – even microscopically – detailed. But does “data-detail” really equate to “visual detail” or “representational detail”? And do we really understand the past in terms of the hyper-detailed snapshot – the moment frozen in time? Or do we actually understand the past in terms more like a tracking shot, moving spatially and temporally across an archaeological landscape, with objects, events and the relationships between them slipping in and out of focus? If the latter, then perhaps the practice of “photo-realism” needs to be blended much more into a continuum of representational techniques. – NikaGoddard 6 years ago
  • I think this is a great topic as there are many ways to tackle the questions you've left for us to think about. I think people feel validated when they see pieces of their own realities played out before audiences. They might also feel compassion because some director and team of writers thought a story much like their own was worthy of a budget and cast etc. Watching our stories told through film also brings freedom because it allows others to get closer to our own experiences in a way that spares us judgment. I hope this is helpful in some way. – MadaleneArias 6 years ago
  • well films like lady bird (i.e. coming of age films) have been here for decades. coming of age will probably never die in hollywood due to how its the most relatable thing to portray on film – jayjayhutch 6 years ago
  • None of the works you mention are outstanding in any way. I find older millennials' work to be banal at best vulgar and trite. Ladybird was an average film. Millennials don't have that ingenious magic that Gen X directors and writers do, imagination and fabulous story such as the great Wes Anderson's and P.T. Anderson's works to name 2 of so many great Gen -X directors. So I find this topic boring. There is no millenial work mentioned of great consequence; I can't think of any. Perhaps changing the topic to Great Gen X directors would be fascinating!:) – youngmollflanders 5 years ago

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