The Art Of Physical Art In City Lights

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The silent film, City Lights, was created during a time where talkies were introduced, and many were transitioning to that medium. Charlie Chaplin obstinately refused to join the rest of his fellow artists and stubbornly decided to stick with his preferred medium-silent film. He wanted to demonstrate the validity of the art of the silent film with the creation of City Lights. This film details the adventures of Chaplin’s character, the Tramp, as he stumbles through town attempting to help the object of his desires, the Blind Girl (played by Virginia Cherrill) who mistakes him for a gentleman. To undertake this venture, Chaplin poured his entire soul to make a beautiful silent film that could capture his audience without implementing speech. He showcases “the great beauty of silence” (Demain 2012) by creating a tender story of mistaken identity through the art of physical art and music.
The use of physical art was not only integral in his comedy, it was integral to the love story. In order to communicate emotional intention with little speech, the art of physical expression is showcased. The comedic portions of the movie support Chaplin’s assertions that speech is not needed by using hilarious physical art and choreography. Jokes were set up by repetitive actions to build up anticipation which was relieved when the punchline was received. The first instance of this is the Tramp “admiring” art displayed in a window and then moving back to discretely look at a sculpture of a

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