Far from being merely a medium of simplification and conveyance of scientific facts, motion pictures exhibit an important epistemic function. On the one hand, the medium film is itself a product of research in various fields, on
the other hand, it retroacts on perception and problem-solving in science, thereby influencing and changing research practices. The paper aims at describing
these reciprocal effects and synergies by discussing two examples:
first by the film “The principles of Einstein’s theory of relativity”, first released in Germany in 1922, second by the film “Mathematical image of the struggle for life”, produced in 1937 for the inauguration of the “Palace of discoveries” in Paris, demonstrating the latest developments in evolutionary theory. It becomes evident that picture media have the capacity to transform
the symbolic dimension of things and bodies, thereby offering new access to reality, which not only fascinated the spectators, but also inspired scientific research.