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"Evolution" may not be quite the right word since it implies (as did
your post) an increasing sophistication.  (I know it doesn't mean that
when used as a biological term but in general use i think it does.)
Certainly silent films are no less artistic or accomplished than
current ones.  Films have become more complex in only the most
superficial aspects:  color, sound, increased ability to manipulate
images, etc.  If there is a gap in the evolution at all it would be
from the earliest films jumping to narrative.  After that, it's only a
matter of what resources are available to the filmmaker and some of the
best work is done with limitations.
 
Best, LT
 
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