A Communications Primer (film #360 on Prelinger Archive). [Category: Educational]

This film was made by Charles and Ray Eames, which makes it more intelligent and visually striking than most educational films. It deals with the semantics of communication, breaking down the concept into a flow chart of choosing, coding, sending, receiving, decoding, and understanding messages. This is applied to modes of communication as simple as “one if by land and two if by sea” and as complex as billions of neurons firing in the human nervous system. Visually, these concepts are portrayed with a collage of animation, film clips, photographs, electronically-generated images, and images from famous works of art. Aurally, they are portrayed with deadpan narration and a haunting music score by Elmer Bernstein. This film is to films like Communications and Our Town, as 2nd-grade social studies is to a graduate-level course in philosophy. But at heart, it’s still an educational film, so it still qualifies as ephemera, though smarter than your average piece of ephemera. The Eames were key players in the modernist design movement, giving this film a great deal of historical value.

Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: *. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.

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