Answering the question asked by the title of one of his books, “What Is Cinema?” the great film theorist André Bazin wrote, “[It is a] recreation of the world in its own image, an image unburdened by the freedom of interpretation of the artist or the irreversibility of time.”
Unlike other art forms, he further argued, cinema can record reality without any artificial mediation. Just point the camera and shoot; no artifices such as paint or words or human intervention come between the art and the object. But there are two problems with this ideal. First, where do you point the camera? It involves a choice; the subjective element is unavoidable. Second, unmediated reality gets pretty boring. People like stories.