Does size matter?

“The changing technologies of “delivery” alter the effect of moving images on “display”. -Friedberg in “The Screen”.

This is a view that gets trumpeted quite a lot. People resist change, and often have to be coaxed into it. Cinema has always been self-conscious about its size, bless its insecure soul. When television came into the fold in the fifties, ad men used the screen size as the major selling point. Until today, the larger the screen the more one can charge, the bigger the spectacle. IMAX rests of this being true. Being perceived as true.

But the truth of the matter is that I don’t see it as being all that important. Sure, some films warrant the spectacle, or demand it, but once everything is underway and the shots are filing out before in perfect order with seamless transitions and all the benchmarks of a fully made film, then the screen as a vehicle becomes less important.

Friedberg even says that “nothing exists beyond the screen”, that there is a literal blackness in the case of a cinema. I agree, but not in the way that Friedberg hopes. When you’re watching, really watching, then the size of a screen doesn’t matter. A well-made film with engaging content is just as arresting on a television screen as it is on a projected screen, and even just as arresting when watched on a phone, no matter what Lynch says.

The taste of food doesn’t change depending on plate size. The content of a film isn’t lost depending on the screen size, so long  as quality isn’t lost. It’s as simple as that.


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