Naturalism is a film movement that has been popular at different types during the history of cinema. It was based on a philosophy that promoted all things simple and real.

Naturalists believed, as their name suggests, that people should be filmed in a natural environment, meaning they would not add props or change their behavior in any way just to make it interesting for the camera.

Instead of creating an artificial light source, they would use the light from sunlight or lamps.

They also avoided using fancy costumes or sets and instead focused on realism. Naturalists wanted to capture everyday life as realistically as possible on screen.

They encouraged improvisation and experimentation that would give the film a “truthful” quality.

Naturalist Movies

What Is naturalism in film?

Naturalism is a term that can be used to describe a number of different things in film.

In general, naturalism refers to the way that films attempt to imitate the way that people and other living beings act in real life.

In the early days of film, directors and actors attempted to create films that were almost entirely realistic.

Today, however, many films are purposely unrealistic or “unnatural” in order to make the stories more interesting or entertaining.



Naturalism in film was pioneered by director D.W. Griffith in his controversial 1915 film The Birth of a Nation.

In this movie, Griffith presented what he felt was an accuate portrayal of the Civil War era in America, focusing on issues such as poverty and violence.

Although this was not intended as an accurate portrayal of actual events, it nevertheless presented a view of history that had been largely ignored by previous filmmakers at the time.

Griffith’s approach was so effective at capturing everyday life that it became one of the most influential films ever made.


However, it is also one of the least naturalistic films ever produced.

What Is Naturalism In Film?

Naturalism is considered one of the first movements to incorporate philosophical principles into filmmaking.

Naturalism began in the late 19th century, just as films were beginning to be produced en masse by businessmen who wanted to make money from the latest innovations in technology.

Filmmakers wanted something more than just special effects; they wanted movies to have a realistic quality that would make them more believable and interesting to audiences. But how could they achieve this when so much of early filmmaking involved faking things.

Characteristics Of Naturalist Movies

A naturalistic movie is a movie that attempts to be more realistic in its portrayal of characters and situations. This realism often involves the use of non-professional actors and the inclusion of details from everyday life.

The term is  often used in film history, although it has also been applied to literature. In the early twentieth century, films were often produced in studios with highly controlled conditions and professional actors, but later films tended to be more naturalistic in their approach.

The term naturalism is borrowed from literary criticism, where it describes a trend in th late nineteenth-century literature toward detailed inclusion of ordinary and typical events in fiction. Naturalistic filmmaking is also called Verite, or cinéma vérité (French for cinema truth).

In general, naturalism is a cinematic philosophy that believes that cinematic reality can be achieved through the use of real locations, non-professional actors, and natural lighting. 

Using this approach, movies try to minimize stylized effects — such as using filters or scenery — and instead attempt to represent things as they are.

This approach contrasts with approaches that either include stylized elements or attempts to achieve cinematic reality through the use of special effects technology, such as computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Naturalism & Performance In Film

Naturalism and performance are two directions that film can take, but what exactly does it mean? 

Naturalism is the attempt to portray reality on film, whereas performance is a more stylized portrayal of reality.

This article will discuss the differences between naturalism and performance in the film, for you to understand which direction you want your work to go. 

Naturalism is a cinema verite style that attempts to show life as it happens. In realist films, we see elements of the ise-en-scene come into play.

The camera might be static in an attempt to capture the action without any movement or perspective changes. 

Naturalism would be most apparent in a documentary. Performance is an artistic style that uses elements of realism and expressionism but also incorporates abstract elements like lighting and cinematography.

Performance can be seen in many of the films by David Lynch, or in some of the films by Lars von Trier, who both create very surreal sets and situations for their characters to act out. 

Both naturalism and performance are popular styles amongst today’s directors, although naturalism is less popular with mainstream audiences than it was in the 1960s when it was used to make films such as “Blow-Up”.

How To Achieve Naturalism In Movies?

To create a work of art with this style, it is essential to set up the proper conditions to achieve the desired effects. While it can be difficult to define exactly what makes a piece of work fit into this artistic style, there are some characteristics that most naturalistic works possess.

Naturalism can be applied to many different genres of film, including documentaries, dramas, or action flicks. The purpose behind this writing is to further emphasize the importance of naturalism in films.

Naturalism is a type of dramatic art that relies on realism rather than theatricality in its presentation. By using realism, it allows the audience to relate on a more personal level with the characters.

Through this style, filmmakers seek to avoid creating an artificial sense of reality in their work as well as attempting to avoid being overly melodramatic and over-the-top.


The Importance Of Naturalism In Film

Naturalism does not mean that the actor acts as a person would in real life, but rather it means that the actor acts follows the film’s reality. In other words, the role is acted in accordance with the other elements of the film.

The most important aspect of naturalism is that it attempts to avoid an artificial performance by focusing on psychological truth and emotional reality. 

Therefore, naturalism should be considered in conjunction with character development, plot structure, and the thematic focus of a given film.

For example, if a film is about characters who have repressed emotions, then the actors playing these characters would need to express these sentiments through their actions. 

If a character is supposed to be hiding certain feelings from others, then they may respond differently to another character than they would if they were being completely truthful.

Naturalism is often considered one of the most important principles of realism in art. It can also be seen as synonymous with realism because both attempt to accurately portray human behavior.

Naturalistic Acting In Film

Naturalistic acting is an acting technique that attempts to draw upon the actor’s own experiences to draw emotion, rather than using artificial techniques. It is a style of acting that is opposite to the idea of Method Acting.

In Method Acting, actors often use techniques such as sense memory, emotional memory, and psychological identification to access their emotional faculties. 

Travis Preston argues that naturalistic actors have more control over their performances because they don’t depend on the critiques of others to maintain a certain level of performance.

The style focuses on the reality of emotions and feelings being relatable by all people, regardless of background or life experience. The emotional truth expressed by the actor allows the audience to connect with them on a deeper level.

Naturalistic acting has been used successfully throughout history in many media outlets, including film, television, and theater. The most famous example of naturalistic acting in film is Robert De Niro’s portrayal of Jake LaMotta in Raging Bull (1980).

De Niro portrays LaMotta as an older man who has lost his passion for boxing after a tough career fighting in the ring and he is haunted by memories of his abusive childhood. This realistic and gritty performance earned De Niro an Academy Award for best actor in 1980.

The Characteristics Of Naturalism In Film

Naturalism is a set of rules used to create a piece of theater that represents the everyday life of an audience. 

Naturalism in film has been a major movement in cinema from the beginning of the movie industry to its current state.

Naturalism has been used as a way to bring an audience into the story and make them feel like they are living in that particular story. 

This style of filmmaking allows for the actors to create characters that allow you to see them as real people rather than big-name stars or famous personalities.

This can be credited with the rise of many young actors, particularly those who came out in the 90s. 

Naturalism is also often credited with helping people deal with some hard and sometimes controversial issues, such as racism and mental illness, by showing it in a way that allows an audience to relate to it and understand it more easily.

These films tend to lack dramatic or romantic scenes and rely on subtlety instead.

History Of Naturalist Movies

The history of naturalist movies is a relatively young one. The first film seems to have been created by Louis Le Prince, who in 1888 recorded a few seconds of footage from a train window.

Although the film’s content was not related to nature, this marks the beginning of the medium as we know it today. Naturalist films are typically documentaries about animals or other aspects of the natural world.

They may be created for educational purposes or simply to entertain. Many have won major awards, including the 2001 film Winged Migration was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Film.

Movie history is closely tied to the development of cameras and projectors. When cameras were first developed, they didn’t have long recording times, although they were still able to create moving images that could be shown on projectors.

These early camera recordings were used during magic shows and parlor games as well as in film presentations. To conserve film stock and projectors, most films were short, sometimes only lasting three minutes long.

The first true naturalist movie was created by Charles and Emile Reynaud who developed a series of films using animated drawings called phenakistiscopes between 1877 and 1902.