@Mary — is that what they’re saying now about painting? Ugh…
@Miasma — I plan to watch it when I get home, I unfortunately can’t access it from where I’m at right now… Pardon — yes, I understand, I guess I went off on a tangent in my emotionalism! :) I paint, and I make films, so I don’t think that the ability to do both is impossible, in fact I think there is a direct relationship between the two, at least I found it to be so. I also think, as someone who does experimental films, that there is still a lot to be explored with film, particularly at this time with the existence of digital…
I must sound like “something, something” at this moment, lol! But I couldn’t help but comment. This discussion is interesting to me, even though right now I cannot see the clip in question…
The Schrader article is brilliant. It can be downloaded on his website. Yes, he argued the same thing that Greenaway is saying. Film is dying and an interactive/digital something-or-other will take over.
Personally I’m tired of the whole “___ is dead” (fill in the blank) thing. Everyone has been saying it since the century turned. We’re all trying to guess what’s next and having some sort of crisis in faith at the same time.
Nothing of it dood. I also won’t attempt to say that Greenaway doesn’t have some private bent involving a desire to make films into experienced paintings… something along those lines, something that is personal, esoteric… still, it’s more interesting than what lots of other people are doing. Even if I don’t have a HELL of a lot of interest in witnessing his VJing, I’d rather see a Greenaway VJ experience than many other ways to socially spend an evening.
And let’s recall that Greenaway said, “It is very arrogant to suppose that you can make a film for anybody but yourself.”
Schrader’s drawn to apocalyptic thinking (probably due to being brought up in a strict Calvanist environment). At any rate, the history of cinema is full of these sort of pronouncements, including:
Isidore Isou circa 1951:
“I believe firstly that the cinema is too rich. It is obese. It has reached its limits, its maximum. With the first movement of widening which it will outline, the cinema will burst! Under the blow of a congestion, this greased pig will tear into a thousand pieces. I announce the destruction of the cinema, the first apocalyptic sign of disjunction, of rupture, of this corpulent and bloated organization which calls itself film.”
@Bobby Wise. Bob Dylan said somewhere (paraphrase) “there are enough songs. no need for anyone to write any more songs.” So crabby! These artists lose touch with the fact that a lot of people respond emotionally to these “dead mediums.” I just saw “Another Year” by Mike Leigh, and did not like it, but it stuck with me the next day. I decided to see it again and loved it. Here’s to a dead medium!
@Miasma: “And let’s recall that Greenaway said, ‘It is very arrogant to suppose that you can make a film for anybody but yourself.’”
Well I won’t speak for anyone but myself, but that’s how feel about making films — however others may feel differently, and I do respect that.
@Two Plus Two — not so dead then, if you can respond to it, eh? I agree. Let the “zombies” rise.
Again you’re missing the provocative nature of his statement, his point is that Cinema has the potential to be so much more than it generally is as of now. Which I feel is indisputable with the vast amount of vulgar derivative anti-creative Cinema that has become so dominant. You may disagree with his idea of interactive Cinema, I am personally highly sceptical of it, yet this doesn’t negate his arguing for a visually literate approach to Cinema.
Well there’s a group of us that are working on an interactive cinema project right now:
I don’t think that artists are against innovation, the urge to grow and do new things is always there, but some don’t manage to always do it very well for whatever reason. On the other hand, viewers can be resistant, particularly if the innovation is difficult to understand.
@odilonvert – that’s what my painter friend says.
@Mary — ah well…
Thanks for the link. Fascinating lecture by Greenaway. There’s a lot to process. Some remarks off the top off my head:
—I think we should all come to an agreement about the “death” of an art form or medium. For me, death does NOT mean the following: a) people don’t operate in the medium/art form; b) people don’t still have an interest in experiencing the artists who work in the medium/art form; c) art from these forms and media can’t be of a high quality.
What death of a medium means, to me, is that all the pushing and exploring of the boundaries of the artform have been maximized; that the basic expressions of various ideas, concepts and stories have been exhausted within that art form or medim—i.e. there really is nothing new within that artform.
Oh, there is also another way of thinking of “death” in this context. Death can mean a lack of relevance or less dominant position in a society and culture. Novels and theater may have dominated the culture at one point; then movies knocked these off; TV might have knocked film off the first position, etc. So, when people like Greenaway or Schrader say film is dead, they might mean that film may no longer be the dominant medium—that something else will replace it.
Do you all agree with this definition(s)? If so, do you agree that film has “died” in either sense?
Here’s something else I wanted to discuss (and I wanted to write this down before I forget). Greenaway spoke about the four “tyrannies” of cinema:
1. The tyranny of the frame.
2. Tyranny of the text (movies are more literary based versus image based).
3. Tryanny of the actor (I couldn’t completely understand him on this point, but he seemed to say that actors have more potential in film—which seems to contradict this point, so I’m confused.)
4. Tyranny of the camera. By this I thought he wanted to see things like hand-drawn or computer generated images or even actual settings used as part of cinema.
All reasons why he’s doing installation art now. Maybe he wouldn’t even call it cinema.
I do think a lot of the examples seemed close to installation art, but there were some that were not—the video games, for example. The “film” about the suitcases looked really interesting, btw (which tied into the video games).
I would definitely agree with the first part of your earlier post. Every art form is in a constant state of death and re-birth depending on a variety of factors like technological advancement, economic circumstances and creative breakthroughs.
However, I’m not sure if I could say that cinema has ‘died’ as far as a lack of relevance. Though television and the internet still have a strong hold on the modern mindset, I think film [if to a lesser degree than in the past] still holds sway today.
new media installation art is oftentimes interactive (like a game).
And some art forms/media don’t necessarily experience a re-birth, right? On some level, you can say who cares if the art form or media has died (as in not really brought anything really new or innovative)—as long as people enjoy it? For example, in jazz, there are musicians who make great fmusic that is largely within the parameters of older styles of jazz. People still enjoy hearing that, and they don’t really care if the music is not innovative.
[I apologize if this is rambling too much and doesn’t address everything directly. Trying to organize my thoughts as best as possible.]
Well, first off, does a lack of innovation itself mean an artform is ‘dead’? Afterall, it still exists and is being practiced, which doesn’t necessarily imply death, does it? Personally, I don’t think an artist who isn’t innovative cannot create great works but also I can’t think of an artform which doesn’t renew or innovate itself in some way. Either over time or in isolation innovation and progress is being made, even if not every artist is a part of it.
I don’t think that every aspect of every different artform has been fully explored yet. Yes, cinema is a fairly new artform and it may feel as if every aspect of it has explored already, but it hasn’t. There are still pieces of visual art and “music” that I hear and see coming out today that still challenge what I am used to and I feel actually push the boundries as to what those mediums encompass, even though many of them still remain within the boundries that they were initially given (and these art forms have been around for who knows how long).
I’m sorry, but that lecture is a crock of sh**. Why should we have to accommodate youthful indolence, in order to “advance” and “preserve” the medium’s survival. If people nowadays are too damn lazy to appreciate high art works of cinema that’s their problem. It shouldn’t be the responsibility of those already engaged in film to facilitate the laziness of younger generations to experience true artistic cinema the way it’s meant to be experienced. Seeing a film entails looking at a screen for two hours. Reading a novel means sitting down and reading the written word. Examining a painting entails well examining a painting, standing in front of it for dozens of minutes and not more, and if you want to listen to great and challenging music. That’s just the way they are. Artistic mediums do not need to be manipulated and advanced to accommodate the needs and wants of an indolent younger generation, one I’m a part of. Sure, I can be lazy at times, but the last thing I need is for someone like Peter Greenaway to facilitate it. All we need is a slew of great and challenging films. That’s all we need. Nothing more, nothing less. I don’t get it. He says we need to detach ourselves from the tyranny of the camera, but meanwhile he praises people like Eisenstein and Resnais (not in the lecture), but if I’m not mistaken a camera was a key piece of gear used to make their films, was it not? Saying cinema suffers from the tyranny of the camera is like saying music suffers from the tyranny of musical instruments. Well, duh!!!!!
Anyhow, was he implying he didn’t see cinema is an art form when he referred to Bazin pejoratively for seeing film as an art form, because if that’s the case he seems to contradict himself when elsewhere he expounds upon the films and filmmakers he considers to be great artists.
maybe MUBI suffers from the tyranny of the internet?!
queue the twilight zone theme.
2. Tyranny of the text (movies are more literary based versus image based).3. Tryanny of the actor (I couldn’t completely understand him on this point, but he seemed to say that actors have more potential in film—which seems to contradict this point, so I’m confused.)
If the tyranny of the text means that text needs to be phased out, then why would he say that the tyranny of the actor means that actors are being underutilized?
And the same happens in cinema, and he says that cinema is dead, so you’re obviously missing his point.
Maybe I missed something, but I didn’t think Greenaway’s point was that cinema needed to change in order to attract the low-attention span viewers. He seemed to think that the all the most interesting ideas via cinema as we know it have been exhausted. He also suggested that certain ways of thinking about cinema has constrained it and in order to revitalize the art form, filmmakers must break away from those ways of thinking (the four tyrannies he mentioned). Or did I miss something?
It would appear Greenaway has run out of ideas as a filmmaker and is repackaging bits and pieces of critical theory from years ago (the remote control gives the viewer control? Seriously?) to project his own artistic death on an entire medium.
But explain to me how the tyranny of the camera and of text is a problem. Unless of course it’s animated, to make a film you need a camera, duh!!!! Most paintings suffer from the tyranny of paints, brushes, and canvas. It’s the same thing in my opinion. What’s wrong with the tyranny of the text. All films need to be planned to some degree, and it helps to have a text to base your film off of. Sure, Antonioni and Resnais are visual filmmakers, but they still relied on texts as a reference point, which ultimately culminated in great visual works of art. All artistic mediums are bound to feed off of each other in some way. I don’t see what the problem is with that. They don’t need to survive in a vacuum. If there’s a link between literature and great cinema, why not? It’s not the case with all great films, but what’s wrong with that link. All artists, regardless of medium influence and feed off of each other. That’s the way it is. I guess tyranny of the frame is like saying painting suffers from the tyranny of a canvas or a surface on which to paint. Also, why didn’t he mention Kieslowski, who was in his prime in the early nineties, when saying the last great cinema was produced in Germany before the invention of the remote control?
You’re reading a little too literally. The tyranny of the camera simply means that people aren’t using the camera in interesting enough ways (according to Greenaway). One doesn’t need a camera to make films. You can scratch and paint on the surface of film strips, just as one example. The tyranny of the camera means people are subservient to the camera being used to tell a classical story.
The tyranny of the text is that people are too subservient to a narrative-based cinema. He’s advocating for a more experimental/avant-garde approach. That’s all. He just wants to see some diversity.
Granted his views are aggrandizing and a bit extreme. And maybe he isn’t the greatest theorist. In principle I’m not interested in artists waxing poetic about their own art. Defend and explicate your work with a paint brush if you’re a painter, a camera if you’re a cineaste.
It would appear Greenaway has run out of ideas as a filmmaker and is repackaging bits and pieces of critical theory from years ago (the remote control gives the viewer control? Seriously?)
I haven’t actually seen any of his films. What should I check out?