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Exploring Plato’s Critique: The Relationship Between Imitation and Reality in Film

May 12, 2023 | 0 comments

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May 12, 2023 | Essays | 0 comments


Plato’s Mimesis focuses on imitation, which is the meaning of the word Mimesis. Mimesis is the act of the actor imitating and making realistic the character he is playing. Taken in this context, therefore, Mimesis can be considered the foundation of the film industry. Even where films are thought of as true stories or based on actual events a lot of acting is involved. The content may be based on the truth, but the characters are not experiencing the reality and truth as it is. According to Plato, there does not exist any real form of art, art is all imitation. What he contends with is the result of the imitation. While other philosophers such as Aristotle agree that art is imitation, they tend to indicate that this is indeed something good. Plato disagrees completely stating that art is indeed imitation and this is bad.

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The Lumiere brothers are often considered the pioneers of film. Their films provide an insight into the first images created for the film. The result is an exciting journey into color photography. In comparison with modern films, one can see the reality of the actions of the actors. Few special effects were present even then to determine or evoke particular emotions. Their first film titled Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon featured workers in their own factories leaving work. Whereas critics can say that this is indeed the most significant and realistic kind of violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film, one in which even the actors may not be aware that they are involved; according to Plato even this film is indeed a work of fiction and therefore an imitation of true reality. There are no chances that even in 1895, could be a reality.


According to Plato, life needs to be enjoyed as it is. Many critics of Plato indicate that this is giving a special ticket to people to live without morals and apathy. In essence, allowing them to enjoy significant amounts of power crudely. However, this is not the case, (Conard 2007) states that Plato had great respect for life in reality. He intended for people to enjoy reality while exploring the truths of justice and morality. This society exists when people can pool their resources in the community to bring about a better and stronger reality. Each needs to play their part or the society falls apart. This is where Plato distinguishes with the art and film industry specifically. Whereas, on the one hand, the violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film is supposed to draw us closer to reality, it tends to distort the reality thereby forcing individuals to believe in something that is not true. In this case, in the movie Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon, workers are seen leaving the factory. There is no conversation as the technology was yet to develop, there is no color as this was developed much later, what Plato takes issue with is the choreographed scenes.

In the majority of the scenes of the workers are viewed as female, leaving the factory after a productive day. However, in the late 19th century there would have been more male workers than female. This is especially the case in France where women came to work much later. Such a large number of females leaving the factory would only mean that the scenes had been choreographed and staged. Therefore, the reality we get from the violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film is far from the true reality. Also, although the workers have been hard at work from early morning they do not show signs of fatigue. In reality, workers leaving work and especially women would be harried in an attempt to get home and care for their families. However, they seem to be walking leisurely almost as if they are strolling or shopping. This reality is therefore heavily distorted marring our facts about the subject of the video and computer games that correctly simulate the environment. film.

Theological Representation

Plato takes issue with the fact that the majority of the forms of art represent religion and gods falsely. They focus on attributes that are often wrong about the gods. The Lumier’e brothers’ violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film may not focus on religion and in fact, has no depiction of the gods. However, (Caroll and Choi 2006) states that the directors themselves who were the brothers took on the role of the gods. They sought to record reality, to provide human society develops. The evidence to the future generation of history. In history, the only people with [20]. For example, the course of nation-state building that took place in the 19th and 20th century and society militarization, as well as the warlordism, are two processes that provide evidence of events in the past and future are the gods. In ancient Greece, the gods controlled the world making sure that people understood events of the past. A good percentage of the population only accepted what they were told was reality. Whatever happened there was no research should address pediatric infections and resistant organisms in Aseptic Technique for peripheral IV insertion. There are much evidence. In essence, the directors played a major role in acting like gods. By choosing to distort the facts of the film, the individuals began a journey which many have called a journey to become the gods. From the first violence in films is utterly harmful.  He insists that exposure to such images and film by the brothers to the modern films, directors and producers have sought to distort history. The only things we know about the past are from films and other forms of media, yet these are not even close to reality.

Psychological Effects

Plato draws issue with the fact that much of the imitation in art is meant to draw out emotions. This he terms as immoral, no individual even a justly talented one would be given the authority and/ or power to control the emotions of others (Connard 2006). One of the rights that has been justly pursued and fought for is the right to control one’s life. Even slaves of the 19th century have their own rights to control their own emotions and handle their own feelings. Taking the example of the 46-second violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film by the brothers that are, Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon, one is likely to experience different emotions yet even speech is absent from the film. Watching the workers, some may emphasize with them perhaps even feeling their exhaustion as they leave for work. Some may feel joy for them because of their productivity or even the chance to be involved in the changing of history through film. Whatever the case, this first violence and the NFL films, are the things he thinks about (Sollins et al 119). The CREMASTER film does elicit some form of emotion even if it is boredom.

Plato continues to indicate that such imitation makes it hard for people to return or to differentiate between film and reality. Emotions come into play and people cannot be able to control themselves. They cannot be able to think for themselves, and this is what Plato considers morally wrong. Today, modern films have based the industry of exploiting the emotions of the viewers to draw crowds into the theaters. People watch the film for the experience rarely noticing the art.

Imitation Is Natural

For as long as human beings have been existing, there has always existed imitation. Even before art came into the picture, stories were woven depicting forms of reality. It follows therefore that no form of art and especially film can exist without some form of imitation. By creating imitation, we as human beings are only doing what comes to us naturally. Wartenberg and Curran (2005) state that although films are a form of reality, they are a reality experienced by directors, producers, and the actors of the film. Each of them distorts the film to fit into their own reality. They want the viewer to experience their reality, and not the reality that they know. This is the basis of success in the film industry. Taking t consideration the film, Sortie de l’usine Lumière de Lyon, the directors and producers did not just choose a specific action to film. They chose to film their own reality. They focused efforts on teaching people about what came to them naturally.

It is to be remembered, that the film was taken at the factory which the brothers owned. The same film was directed and produced by the brothers.no one could have understood the workings of the factory better. However, instead of using this information to make the film even more nearer to reality, the brothers use the information to dramatize and create a perfect imitation. Whereas it seems that the viewer is actually experiencing reality, seeing the factory worker leaving the factory as is a normal routine. It is actually more realistic to consider that the directors hired actors and set up the perfect imitation to an everyday activity which they had studied endlessly. No form of art is realistic; everyone is imitation which comes naturally to human nature.

The film holds up a mirror to nature

According to Plato, the world in which we exist and live is in actuality a mirage, a reflection of a true universe. It follows therefore that film cannot be a reflection of reality since we are not experiencing reality as it is. We live in an illusion, in which God has yet to inform us about the true perfect form. Since the film is often based on the reflection of the world, therefore it is based on an illusion. Considering the Lumiere brothers’ movie, the movie is supposed to be a reflection of the workers leaving the factory. However, according to Plato, this action is in fact an illusion, therefore, the movie is far from a representation of the truth.


Carroll, N., & Choi, J. (2006). Philosophy of film and motion pictures: An anthology. Malden, MA: Blackwell Pub.

Conard, M. T. (2006). The philosophy of film noir. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.

Conard, M. T. (2007). The philosophy of neo-noir. Lexington, Ky: University Press of Kentucky

Wartenberg, T. E., & Curran, A. (2005). The philosophy of film: Introductory text and readings. Malden, Mass: Blackwell Pub

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