GAH! not this AGAIN!
If you can’t enjoy The Seventh Seal while also enjoying a film like “Dances with Wolves” or “Knocked Up” and appreciate each kind of film for what it does, and not label one inferior over the other, then sorry, you’re really not a film lover, just an asshole who treats the art of film like fucking party politics. I detest intellectuals who suck all the enjoyment out of film with their pointless comparisons and judgment calls. What a waste of time!
Everything about this thread -recalls the days of Renault / This Life. Pisces, could you be the next incarnation?
“then sorry, you’re really not a film lover, just an asshole who treats the art of film like fucking party politics.”
I guess I am a fool then for thinking Christina Aguilera is inferior to the future of the music world as opposed to oh, I don’t know, Maria João and Esma Redžepova, I suspect any Aguilera is equal to divine voices like the ones I posted links onto them…
“I detest intellectuals who suck all the enjoyment out of film with their pointless comparisons and judgment calls.”
Film is Art just like Literature is Art and Theatre is Art, otherwise, we’d be praising Danielle Steel and her clones in the same vein we’re praising Dorothy Parker, Borges and Kavafis.
it’s one thing to attract an audience for a certain analogy of “artistry” and another to explore the varieties of an artistic medium beyond norms and conventions.
“Didn’t Truffaut consider Spielberg his equal? Does that make Truffaut stupid? Intellectually deficient?”
Truffaut never saw Hook.
. . . and never will.
haha – that’s true. Truffaut died before he had to sit through Spielberg’s worst crap.
Although I like Hook!
I think the best type of person is one who can just can and will defend Showgirls as much as they will Ozu. Art is what it means to you as an individual. It is not a scientific fact set in stone. I can’t help but chuckle at people on here that say that art can be only one thing and that if it doesn’t fit a quota it isn’t art. These are the same type of people who many years ago said Edvard Munch wasn’t a real painter because his paintings weren’t realistic.
Truffaut saw 1941 I presume?
Yeah and even Spielberg admits that’s his worst film (although he said that before he made Indy 4).
“I think the best type of person is one who can just can and will defend Showgirls as much as they will Ozu.”
Yes! These are the types of people I’m most interested in discussing film with. Open mindedness is something I value very much. People who limit art into a very narrow thing are too predictable and not all that interesting.
Putting people in one category over another is just stupid. I don’t think anybody is being elitist when they’re showing passions about what they like. Argue all you want, say all the bad things in the world about films/directors you hate, in the end you will still get to choose what you like. I mean, I do stereotype (I admit) but I think it’s great when people are being a film snob. Why should this be a problem? And why would I be offended if people don’t like what I like..we’re just of different kinds that’s all..AND I HATE IMDB USERS!!
Sorry, I get emotional/aggressive whenever I see IMDB being mentioned, haha!
I just read skimmed through the thread, and I basically agree with a lot of what Matt said. My sense is that almost everyone believes that some films are better than others; that most people don’t have a strictly relativistic stance on movies. We may agree about which films are better—but most of us agree in the concept of “better.” Otherwise the opinion that Green Lantern is a great work of art is really no different from the claim that Citizen Kane is a great work of art. Again, I’m pretty sure no one here really believes that. (Now, some people may prefer—as in enjoy—GL over CK. That’s possible, but that’s a different issue.)
I get the sense that people don’t like saying that some films are better than others or that some opinions are more valid than others because of the implications—namely, that the person holding less valid opinions is somehow inferior and even deserves to be scorned or ridiculed. If this is true, I can understand the resistance to the idea that some films are better than others.
Personally, I think one can believe that some films are better than others—without belittling or ridiculing other people. I know people on this site who are like this.
Then again, maybe I’m misreading where people are coming from. In any event, that’s my two cents. (Well, probably five cents at least. :)
“Yes! These are the types of people I’m most interested in discussing film with. Open mindedness is something I value very much. People who limit art into a very narrow thing are too predictable and not all that interesting.”
agree to an extent, and i used to be this way myself 10 years ago, but my take as your appreciation grows, so does your understanding, and the categories tend to become more fixed. So when you are ‘open minded’, your thoughts on the artform are scattered, in a sense. My open mindedness comes in watching films and talking about them, but not in the categories themselves. In that sense, i am an elitist(i.e art film before popular film, as a category). But that doesn’t mean that all art films are better than popular films(they certainly are not), and that popular films do not have value(which isn’t true). However, i prefer more personal statements and expressions of ideas rather than ones that are tailored for mass consumption. Sure we can always argue that with studio auteurs the personalisation is more ‘subtle’, because you have to scrape off the layers, but that is a big assumption to make, for one, and secondly, the surface layers are a big part of what the film is about, part of the entire compromise. Either way you are getting a watered down vision. Does that make it bad? No. But i personally have little to no interest in analysing or discussing these films in any serious way, with few exceptions.
and i agree with Dimitris 100%. Recognising categories and differences is key to recognising value.
To use a food analogy, i enjoy eating fast food every so often(blockbusters), but too much of it makes you fat(i.e retarded), and i wouldn’t confuse it for fine dining. Same applies here with film to me. It’s a question of refinement, and to me refinement is a big part of what art is about.
I will also say that i do believe that anti-elitism is a form of psychopathology, since the culture wars were fought decades ago and the masses were the clear victors. so who exactly are people fighting against? A small group of weak literature professors who have close to zero effect on culture?
The film community is the same. I don’t get this obsession with stamping out a non-threatening form of elitism. It perhaps made sense 40-50 years ago, but not now. The masses won. Enjoy it without having to defend yourself against largely invisible enemies.
Take a chill pill and relax to E.T or something. Don’t let that silly voice inside your head make you feel ashamed anymore. Be strong! ;-)
Joks: Recognising categories and differences is key to recognising value.
Yes, this is an important aspect for me personally in evaluating all kinds of films.
I don’t get this obsession with stamping out a non-threatening form of elitism.
The only kind of elitism which concerns me is narcissism, heh. In other words, attaching unwarranted importance to yourself simply because you value what you perceive to be “superior” art. Personally, I have no problem with valuing Parajanov as a superior artist to Spielberg, but at the end of the day I still realise that I myself am just a regular nobody who hasn’t really contributed anything of note to any culture like BOTH Parajanov and Spielberg have done (in differing categories). Major problems only seem to arise when people start attacking other people for being “inferior” or “snobby” for not having the same taste in cinema as they do, which is, let’s face it, a fair waste of one’s limited time and effort in the larger scheme of things.
The problem is many people are unwilling to take the bait and simply acknowledge film as an art and respect it as such. Do you ever notice that when one who wants to work in film speaks to somebody who doesn’t know anything about it, the person you’re speaking to simply sees in terms of breaking into the industry. The whole notion of just going on your own, making a film, and trying to submit to a festival seems anathema to them. There’s this whole emphasis on industry, industry, industry. What’s wrong with respecting film as an art form the way when respects poetry or classical music as such? Does that make one a pretentious snob? Would a literature person ever say that if you really love the art of written fiction you should be able to appreciate both Proust and James Patterson? It’s the same idea as telling someone they’re only a real film lover when they can value both Titanic and Sans Soleil. The point is it seems more acceptable in society to be “snobby” with respect to written fiction or music than with respect to film.
People have this notion that aspiring directors must work their way up the industry ladder and impress and make connections with others who are entrenched in the industry. It simply doesn’t have to be that way, but some people will never admit that.
“Would a literature person ever say that if you really love the art of written fiction you should be able to appreciate both Proust and James Patterson?”
Warren Ellis has a really good quote on this though I am speaking from memory: “As a writer people are always asking me my opinion on the quality of other writers. I prefer to support all wordsmiths, regardless of whether I like or appreciate their work or not. So mostly when I comment about other writing, it is to support and defend someone I really appreciate and enjoy.”
Something like that, but I think it was more concise.
Anyway, I don’t support James Patterson. But I think Elmore Leonard is quite good. That’s mostly what the point is when people say “This AND that.” It does not have to be Proust to be good. It could also be Elmore Leonard. Maybe someone sees something good in Patterson, they better be ready to defend it.
Alright, fair enough.
“Do you ever notice that when one who wants to work in film speaks to somebody who doesn’t know anything about it, the person you’re speaking to simply sees in terms of breaking into the industry. The whole notion of just going on your own, making a film, and trying to submit to a festival seems anathema to them. There’s this whole emphasis on industry, industry, industry. "
I’ve met exactly who you’re talking about (and even worked for someone like that), and they never get anywhere anyway.
Ignore them. They’re useless and don’t know anything.
Most people, however, pretty much presume that just making a movie and submitting it to a festival is how to “break into the industry.” Newsflash to them goes: festivals are not “distribution.” You need to plan further ahead and make a plan for what you are doing. Making movies is a joy in and of itself but if you actually want to work in film as a job then you have to treat it as such and talk to the right people. The “right people” are not necessarily studio heads and marketing departments—they can be community organizers, local art groups looking for media output, web designers looking for some Internet video, a society group wanting someone to produce a documentary for them, The New York Times looking for an op-ed video piece, a projection to be featured in a gallery setting, and on and on and on. But you don’t just make a movie and expect people to watch it. That’s only half the work.
This response is separated from my response above because my response above is about the whole elitist/anti-elitist thing we discuss here ad nauseum. This is just to make sure we’re clear on the reality of “the industry,” which is really “the work of filmmaking/video production.” If you want to just make a movie and that’s that, there’s this thing called YouTube. Queue it in with all the rest.
It took two years for my friends to find distribution for the their film Lizard Boy, but they finally found and it’s out on DVD, a lot of phone calls, many screeners sent out, but they got it out there.
what a dumb thread but thankfully there are a few people in here making perfect sense. I’d rather talk to someone about their favorite scenes from Billy Madison then talk with most mubi users who strictly like 2,000+ experimental and art films about a Kiarostami.
by the way my favorite scene in billy madison is when he hangs the phone up from ernie while talking to veronica vaughn then yells “YA BLEW IT!” gets me every time.
Favorite Billy Madison and certainly applies to many people
“applies to many people”
“agree to an extent, and i used to be this way myself 10 years ago, but my take as your appreciation grows, so does your understanding, and the categories tend to become more fixed.”
I guess my path been the complete opposite. I used to be a lot more narrow in my understanding of what is good and bad. Certainly when I first started taking film theory classes, I began to feel this way, and appreciated popcorn flicks a lot less. But as I dug deeper, continued on with my film studies, got older, met other film buffs, I began to think differently. And then when I went to actual film school and started making films, my appreciation for a whole slew of different kinds of films started to really mature and develop. I don’t like your fast food analogy because the assumption that popcorn cinema is fast food is misguided. It’s easy to associate art films as substantive; it’s much more challenging to find substance in mainstream fare. But when you do, it can be a lot more rewarding. So acknowledging this, being open to the possibility that you can gain insight from a whole variety of cinema, is what I’m referring to when I say open mindedness is crucial. Recognizing categories can be an exclusionary process (and seems like a lazy cheat for assessing value – throw out the labels and assess value on the film itself) and for me, tends to limit the scope of what you perceive to be great art. Refinement is great but not at the expense of limiting oneself.
“The only kind of elitism which concerns me is narcissism,”
I think Mischa nails it. I think that’s what we all are most annoyed by – narcissism.
I agree, but stating that The Shawshank Redemption is shallow Hollywood fare doesn’t necessarily make someone a narcissist. Conversely, I’d agree that calling someone a philistine for not liking a certain film is indeed narcissistic. People are allowed to simply not like a given a work of art. It doesn’t make them a philistine.
“Most people, however, pretty much presume that just making a movie and submitting it to a festival is how to “break into the industry.” Newsflash to them goes: festivals are not “distribution.”
I agree with everything Polaris says here. If all you want to do is make a movie, go make a movie. But if you want to be an actual filmmaker in the film business, well that’s something else entirely.