Well, I appreciate the title of this forum for starting off some discourse, but in the long run isn’t this question as silly as asking, “Painting; is it Fine Art, or just decoration”? It rather depends on the artist and painting in question, doesn’t it? And our ability to discern what’s on the canvas, (and whether or not we benefit) differs based on our individual levels of perception, learning, and earnest desire to investigate. And oftentimes, our personal perspective from where we stand while viewing it.
I really do believe that all arts boil down to one medium, and that medium is Language. The tools at hand vary from sound, to imagery, to motion and the verbal, (and film provides the means to combine them all) but ultimately it’s how and what they reveal in their subjects that determines whether or not it can be considered “Art”. And and also determines how a work effects us individually.
I don’t know that anyone’s bothered to get to the end of this posting, (my participation seem to kill a lot of forums these days) or if they’ll take anything new away from it. But I do believe that what people get out of various creative endeavors is a tandem process that includes both the artist and the audience equally. And I wish people in the viewer’s position would challenge themselves just a little bit more than what tends to be the norm.
It’s whatever you want it to be.
Yeah. Like food; you can either eat it, or throw it acorss the room at someone. It’s what you make of it!
The best course of action is to seek out good food as a source of nourishment, and know how to enjoy dessert as well. How healthy you are is often determined by what you eat.
@No T.-Your reference to it being a “tandem process” phrases the point perfectly! Amen, says I. But I wonder what you meant by all arts boiling down to the medium of Language. Do you mean it metaphorically—like “the language of music” or “the language of sculpture,” that kind of thing? Or do you mean word-language (sorry, dumb phrase) is at the basis of everything? The latter would be counter-intuitive, but really interesting…
I mean that, when you look at the way all the Arts function, the process at play in all forms is very much the same as what we use in verbal language. Comic book art and film are good examples of how imagery can function in the same narrative way as…….uh, …narrative! There’s syntax, (think about tracking shots, close ups, jump cuts…) subject/verb relationships, rhythm, meter and other parallels at work. The same goes for music and dance.
I think it’s both ironic and limiting that, (at least in English) the visual, (painting, illustration) is termed as Art, and the verbal as language. Basically, each one has the ability to encompass both. (And as someone who tries to both write and draw, I’ve also got plenty of experience in how they share the dangerous inclination to fail as either.)
There’s a book by the title, Escher Bach Godel that outlines the correlations between drawing, music and mathematics. My assertion is fairly similar, but I guess I’m focusing on the principles of communication rather than structure.
And as a closing pretentious comment, I’ll point out that out of all the senses involved in being able to determine whether or not a work of literature, visuals, or music reaches the level of high art, the only one that doesn’t come in to play is….
the sense of taste. (Likely, the most subjective one of the five.)
The forever-chasing question; on one hand, the films of, for exapmle, Truffaut or Fellini are hard to consider anything but art, but then if you consider cinema art, then every teen sex comedy or mindless action flick released ought also then be art. It’s certainly a tough choice. I tend to consider film an art form, and just because it’s bloated by many sometimes far lesser works, it still stands as a process of creation and should be judged as art form.
^Alexander in reference to teen sex comedies, Film is really just a vessel, and it can be used for any number of intentions. Take the news for example, it’s not something we’d consider art but its still film, it’s just designed simply to inform. With teen sex comedies, while also something we don’t typically consider art, it does have a specific design; to distract. And while they are usually absent of such methods of invention like mise-en-scene or visual experimentation they do still employ some techniques to fulfill their promises of cheap laughs and escapism for 90 minutes. Every cut they make, every minute of film they leave in or omit is an artistic choice. The fact that these movies don’t have any intellectual ambition makes it hard for us to clump them in with the work of real auteurs, but i agree with you that regardless, it’s still art. Just like how you differentiate a landscape painted by numbers from a Monet, you simply have to hope that people can differentiate the “art” from the “fine art” in other mediums like film as well.
Good, interesting points about the various “languages.” I do think the term is sometimes used so loosely as to be meaningless (at Landmark theaters, there used to be a trailer that portentously announced, in a posh British accent, “the language of cinema is universal…”). But when you suggest syntax, subject-verb relationships, rhythms—then the point gets truly interesting, and really stimulating to think about. To take the language of cinema as a serious concept for a minute, we can see that language evolve and change from the early days till now; and the more that audiences get familiar with it, the less of certain elements they need—I’m thinking of the creaky, endless exposition that we used to have to have in films, and the reaction shots that today could be cut as superfluous. By analogy, human languages (well, English anyway; I presume it’s a common story) have become far more simplified and streamlined grammatically over the centuries than they used to be, and we can do even more with them as a result.
Kind of a random thought, but as I think about this I keep remembering Lacan saying the unconscious is structured like a language. In a film-saturated culture, would the film language affect the unconscious’ structure? Or maybe vice-versa?
Your point about the sense of taste is amusing—it would be fascinating to imagine a future film technology that could evoke a taste response. But I’d want to be able to shut it off with a lot of films I can think of… Smell too. But we do imagine taste sometimes, and smell too. Probably better to keep them in the realm of the imaginary though. Maybe the porn people are already working on this.
I am speaking from a strict personal preference here, but I would like to think that worthwhile Entertainment leaves the audience member with something gained. This is tricky stuff. Alas, time to bathe.
Film can ONLY be both. The point of art is to express something, which will hopefully be seen by others. In order to have other people take time out of their busy days to actually look at your art (or listen to your music), is to entertain them to some degree.
As a filmmaker, you could completely ignore the “art” side of the process and just make a derivative movie that adds nothing new to the medium but does sell a lot of tickets, but you could not completely ignore the entertainment aspect of your film project. If you did, you would be making a home movie for yourself and nobody would watch it, so it couldn’t really be called “art” at all. Although I’m pretty sure some films were made with no regard to entertainment, but they ended up being entertaining by accident, and thereby became popular. Perhaps “Un Chien Andalou” was made in such a way, or at least it gives that impression as part of it’s “edgy” reputation. (Why do I always cover my eye when I think about “Un Chien Andalou”?)
Art needs an audience – or it is just a paperweight.
Books: Are they art or entertainment?
I think different movies serve different purposes. Yes, all movies are a form of entertainment – even the most dramatic or horrific – but they also be complex forms of art. And I like Woody’s quote that “art is entertainment for intellectuals”. I think this is true and believe that at it’s best, art moves you and makes you think/feel things you never thought/felt before.
more definitions of art? we gotta find other threads to revive. the pickings are getting slim.
Bobby: There are far worse threads to revive. ;)
I’m trying Bobby, I’m tryin! This ain’t easy, though!
funny. while in the “personal 25” thread, i started thinking about this, actually. there was mention of “taste” in movies; and discussing this taste as sort of qualitative.
i think all films, if they’re successful, entertain on some level. summer action movies entertain on an immediate and (often) fleeting level. other movies entertain on a more cerebral, challenging level. others can entertain on a purely visually aesthetic level. etc. but as long as a viewer is entertained by an aspect (or aspects) of a movie enough to sustain their interest throughout the movie (and to hopefully, sustain an interest beyond the length of the movie), then the film is successful.
this subjectivity in art kind of deflates any gung-ho arguments that A is better than B, or B can’t even stand up to C. the concept of film isn’t like a Ritz cracker, or an Australian black orchid , or a sunrise. you can’t crystal-clearly define it and then set all instances of it up to meet a certain requirement. it shifts shapes to suit the environment. and it should.
Richard: I agree with that. Neither can be simply definied and films, for better or worse, do fall into both to some extent. It’s more a question of whether we think something is good or bad.
There’s a very broad definition of entertainment being used in this thread.
art + entertainment = film
we, humans, create. but we have to be honest, we create so that others see our creations, the way we see the world. maybe we don’t care whether people enjoy our art or not, maybe they’ll think it is some sort of unrealistic crap. but, after all, that is the purpose of art: to express yourself.
film can never exist without art or entertainment. if no one ever watches your movie, then “the cycle of film” will never be complete.
I am also going to say, ’it’s a banana’.
///… Don’t get caught up in the “intentional fallacy”.\\\
Without ‘intent’ what you end up with: advertisement = film
I am using ‘intent’ in terms of creating art, i.e. that the creator intends it to be art. An ad agency can say it is art, but their intent is to sell product so an ad is not film art.
Not using intent in referring to the wiki:Intentional fallacy, in literary criticism, addresses the assumption that the meaning intended by the author of a literary work is of primary importance. By characterizing this assumption as a “fallacy,” a critic suggests that the author’s intention is not important.
I think that being extremely entertaining is an art.
i agree with quentin. i also think that entertainment is a requirement of “great art”.
Why can’t a film be art and entertainment at the same time?
For me as long as it’s watchable, it’s entertainment.
I say, the filmmaker’s intent is not so important. The most important thing is what you thought of the film and how you perceive it. Give more importance to yourself as the viewer. Because if you think of the filmmaker’s intent in creating the film, you usually tend to change your opinion about the film even though you didn’t really like it so much in the first viewing. Or maybe, the filmmaker didn’t really have any intentions when making the film or you didn’t really catch their true intentions if there were any, and you’re just putting words in his or her mouth.
Maybe that’s how I consider if a film is exceptional or not: if it’s both art and entertainment. If it’s just highly entertaining, I give it four stars. If it’s just highly aesthetic, I give it either three or two stars. If it’s neither, one or two. If it’s a mixture of both, five stars of course.
Film is art.Art is life.Life is H2O.H2O is Film.Life is Art.Art is Film.
I think that things have a purpose. Electronic (or with film, mechanical/photographic) mediums are mass mediums. Electronic mediums are all about communicating with a lot of people. These mediums appeared right along side the vast increase in the earth’s human population. I personally believe electronic mediums are a gift to these billions of people.
I think electronic mediums are art forms that succed or fail according to the number of people they touch. I would rather actual communication was going on, but what happens with these mediums is a cultural, subconcious, emotional move occurs around the art object. This is really the films success as art.
All these films that get called “art films” are really demonstrations of technical prowess with the medium. But if a tree falls in the woods and nobody hears it fall, is it art. So also, if nobody but film school students see an “art film” is it art? I say no. It’s not art. It is a training video!
But anyway, that is my take on the notion that film has to be both art and entertainment. If it is not reaching out to an audience, it is really not a cultural event. A FILM FAILS AS ART IF IT IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT (for some group or other…)
Rubrick: I want to discuss the pros and cons of your statement…. alas, time to bathe.
I think the three-legged stool we are dancing around here is missing a leg, or rather, it hasn’t been highlighted enough.
Art is one.
Entertainment is two.
COMMERCIAL is three.
Art, as I see it, is the personal exclamation of an individual. Paint, words, the voice, instruments, film, made to satisfy a need for expression in that person, and it’s being put out in public in the hope of sounding out others who may in fact understand this person’s point of view, and (the artist hopes) agree with it.
Is it entertaining? If you agree with the artist about his points, then yes, you are going on a ride you understand, and you approve. It doesn’t have to be broadly funny or anything else; it just has has to agree either with what you believe, or what new insight you are now pursuing, courtesy of the artist.
Art doesn’t have to be entertaining or commercial. It only has to reach its audience.
In the real world, art and commerce are bad bed-fellows, in most cases.
Yet Shakespeare and Stephen King are cut from the same cloth.
They are both immensely popular writers, capable of telling incredible stories, and they both have enjoyed the spoils of their work. Whether King will be remembered is a moot point because that will be decided after we are dead. But who is the artist? Shakespeare, for his amazing language, and for that indefinable something we call….‘art’. He too churned it out, the way Mr. King has done. But he is still the artist.
Is it commercial? Does it have to be? If you want it to be exposed to lots of people, yes it does. But if the very exposing results in you watering it down and compromising your voice, is it then still art, or have you now joined the ‘work-for-hire’ crowd?
So maybe the real question is: is there such a thing as “commercial art”?
Entertaining is easy.
So’s being commercial.
But can you do art that is mass-oriented and still call it art?
Entertaining and being comercial are not easy. If it were we would all be bored with you so entertaining would get hard again quick, if it ever were easy. Often “Being comercial” is just when an artist chooses a new audience and produces art that does not please his origianal audience. His origional audience screams “SELL OUT!!”
He might just be barely making a living!! But his starving artist crowd don’t care. But in film everything is expensive. How many films were made with out some financing? $10 grand would be cheap. Do you have the credit?
Film is inherently commercial. There is an art to getting the finance and the crew and everything. Even low budget fims need to be marketed. How is any one going to know about the “art?”
Anyways if it is easy go make a million! Ain’t what it used to be, right? But people still tell me $1,000,000 is a DISCUSTING amount of money.
Art is about fire. Entertainment is about holding on to you.