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Is the art of film making dead?

Discussion in 'TV Show Forum' started by Setenza, Dec 11, 2004.

  1. Setenza

    Setenza
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    Well according to Peter Bogdanovitch it is.

    I recently watched both the directors cut of Dare Devil and The Chronicles Of Riddick. They were competent, visually impressive and very slick.

    But today I watched The African Queen. It really put eveything into perspective.

    Now don't get me wrong, I don't think that all movies should be art, making some sort of deep statement. I like trash as much as anyone else.

    But there is something very wrong with mainstream Hollywood at present. It's run by committee, and art and creativity have been de-mystified and become nothing more than a clinical technique.

    The screen play, the acting, the calibre of the directing, and most importanty, the gravitas that exuded from The African was excellent. I finished viewing and I felt that I had experienced something very special. This seldom happens these days.

    The LOTR triology are the only movies that really have made me feel that way recently.

    Most people firstly like material that is expressed within terms of reference that they know or an idiom that they are familiar with. If you are raised on a diet of modern fast edited movies you'll find it hard when watching a film from 50, 40 or even 30 years ago.

    That is why when watching older or foreign material you have to balance your own view and expectations against the context of the films origin and place in history.

    An example is Birth Of A Nation. If you can suspend your personal opionion on it's racist subtext and view it from the perspective of it's time, then you are left with a remarkble piece of cinema.

    Alas, Hollywood caters to it's home market, firstly, and it seems to be incapable of engaging them on anything other than a superficial level. Perhaps that is a reflection of the audience, or what they percieve the audience want.

    Either way the current climate seems to stifle true creativity. What started off as a sideshow diversion has no gone full circle and despite it's million dollar trappings has become the same once again.

    Let the debate begin.
     
  2. BlueOrange25

    BlueOrange25
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    To an extent I'd say the 'art' of film making is dead. Certainly, it seems that the focus in films nowadays is to make massive blockbusters that cram in the audience and CGI effects. Any blockbuster that has any hint of story/character development/depth is always highlighted as being a break from the norm.

    But at the same time, I think that there are still some imaginative/arty films being made. Films such as 'Memento' and 'Pi' are different to say the least from a lot of mainstream movies. It's just that the industry has become so saturated and focused on 'the next big thing', that is has become a little harder to find films that don't fall into the Hollywood formula.

    I'm not sayin that this is anything particularly new ('Star Wars' is sometimes cited as the first of mega blockbusters, eventually leading us to where we are now). It's hard to think of a time when film making wasn't about how much money the studios or the stars could make. In this case, was the art of film making ever really alive?
     
  3. Fordy

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    Ask George Lucas
     
  4. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    "Pi" was hardly a mainstream picture and to be honest its not worth watching after the first hour when it completely loses the plot and dissolves into an incoherent mess. I alos think its borderline anti-semetic.

    CGI is widely used as a normal part of film-making these days and has no huge influence in the way that the majority of films are approached and made , there is no differentiation between the digital effects and the visual effects industry these days ( if there ever was). The same people that did it 30 years ago with a rostrum camera are tha same people who do it today with computers. Given the time contraints and general shoddiness of most productions these days digital effects work is responsible for saving far more movies than it compromises.

    The visual effects industry is a comparatively small part of the film industry in general and consequently not afforded a lot of influence by the studios in general. People who decry the visual effects industry as destroying film normally reveal themselves to have little in the way of real knowledge or experience of the industry.
     
  5. Azrikam

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    Dear Film Viewer,

    As films became big business, the studios were keen on taking less and less chances. Now, films have been big business for quite a while, but as the stakes got higher, the bean-counters took even more care to ensure a high return on investment.

    That meant that the writer and director's vision became significantly less important than...
    A) Marketing tie-ins (including video games based on the film)
    B) Bankable big-name stars to lure the punters, regardless of acting talent
    C) Merchandise Sales (toys, etc)
    D) Plot by committee

    That last one means no surprises that might annoy the popcorn crowd. (they generally like their films as predictable as possible) Extensive use of CGI, regardless of whether it's necessary. A happy ending, so as not to generate any bad word-of-mouth from people who think "reality TV" actually approaches reality. Witty one-liners from the sexy star of the film. A love interest for the sexy star. A cookie-cutter villain (usually foreign) who dies in the most horrible way imaginable at the end. And a plot that reinforces negative stereotypes and refuses to challenge our way of thinking.

    Big films today are franchises. They are not looked upon as works of art, but rather business projects with the potential to make money. If a big budget film even comes close to being artistic, it's usually due to a very stubborn director, or dumb luck. But here's the real problem as I see it. (and it's a problem that affects every one of us in a negative way each and every day) There is little-to-no legitimate media left.

    Great, artistic, films are being produced every month by filmmakers who care about what they are doing: informative and touching documentaries, hilarious comedies, heart-rending dramas, terrifying thrillers, and brilliant character pieces. They often leave the viewer in a different place after being watched, and have an effect on the soul that can be immeasurable. They can showcase talented actors and tackle important, controversial subjects. But do you hear about these films? Can you buy them in your local supermarket? No, because filmmaking is big business and the gatekeepers make sure that the public's choice is an easy one. Too many choices can be confusing, and often necessitates the use of the brain to make a decision. The corporations who own the movie studios control the media, and they want to make your decision as painless as possible. Whether it be ClearChannel, who controls a scary percentage of all radio broadcasting, or massive companies like TimeWarner and Sony, who dominate a huge proportion of the entertainment business.

    Unless you approach film viewing as research in the same way that people should research major purchases (house, car, etc), then you are only aware of the mass-marketed blockbuster of the week. As far as you know, no other films are available, so your choices are limited.

    So, after all that, here's my message to you, film viewer: "Ignore the media when it comes to films." If a mainstream film is actually great, don't worry; you'll find out from a film-loving friend. But if you really want quality, artistic films in any serious quantity, then you're going to have to do a little work. The information won't come to your living-room like the trailer for Will Smith's latest debacle, you'll have to seek it out. Check out websites that cater to independant films, go to a few festival screenings, do some research into the best films you never heard of from last year and pick up a few DVDs, follow the films of a specific director as opposed to a specific actor, and walk away from the New Release section of the video store and head into the foreign or classics section. (if one still exists)

    But if you think that the Friday night lineup at the local Warner Village is your best bet for quality cinema, then you'll forgive me if I don't weep when you complain about sitting through yet another film devoid of any entertainment value or lasting impression. Art is out there. Now go and find it.

    Ps. The number of film sequels that are also quality films are statistically insignificant. Just say no, ok?

    Regards,
    A Friend

    (sorry for the length, but I was on a roll ;) )
     
  6. Harj

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    Not really one to get into huge discussions, but for my 2 pence worth, here i go.

    I beleive no! We have had good and bad film making throughout time, i do beleive that we miss some good stuff that has character development, plots, scripts and concentrate on the bad too much. Yes they've ruined stuff like Thunderbirds, but compared to some of the films i've seen this year im glad that we are being exposed to better cinema.

    Hero
    Oldboy
    A Tale of Two Sisters
    Im not scared.
    Touching the Void
    Zatoichi.

    These are just some of the films i went to the cinema to watch, since i dont go often, i think its been a good year for me.
     
  7. manny

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    in hollywood, they're terrified of offending anyone, political correctness has gone completely over the top. i read a few days ago about the film they're making of the "his dark materials" series of books. i haven't read the books, and i know that leaves me open to criticism here, but anyway; it seems the story of the book concerns a battle against the church and an attempt to overthrow god himself. the studio has demanded that all references to the church or god be removed. okay, so we'll get the film minus the actual story then? hooray hollywood!

    why has it become wrong to have a point of view, to criticise anything? Mr.D says he feels that "pi" was borderline anti-semetic. well it featured an extremist jewish sect, which may or may not be based on reality, and it showed them in a generally bad light. should this not be allowed? i am in no way anti semetic, or racist or anything else, i simply think that a society where a religion or point of view cannot be criticised without the critic being branded a racist or a right wing loony is not really a free society. there is a difference between incitement to hatred from the likes of the bnp and free and open debate. i've wandered a bit here, but my point is that this free and open debate has completely disappeared from the mainstream, and especially hollywood movies.
     
  8. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    this is rubbish , totally untrue , the pullman novels are nowhere near being produced , there isn't even a proper script yet and removing references to the church/religion totally misses the point of the book and will simply not happen , they would not make the film before this happens. You might as well make Jaws without a shark. (its an anti-religion book rather than any one faith by the way)

    They are also quite happily making the DaVinci code at the moment which is not too complementary to the church , but then again no-one bats an eyelid if you are anti-catholic , just anti-semetic , anti-islamic etc etc. Then again catholics don't tend to issue fatwas against their critics.

    As for the Pi being anti-semetic ; inventing some extreme jewish sect trying to silence some arcane piece of number theory that unlocks the secret to controlling the entire world is just a little too close to some of the propaganda churned out by the nutball extreme right in the states so I'll stick by my opinion that its anti-semetic whether intentional or not.
     
  9. manny

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    i wasn't having a go at you, sorry if you thought so.

    i agree that it seems generally okay in the movies to have criticism of christianity, while other religions are taboo. that's what i was, quite badly, trying to say.

    as to the Pullman books, i'm simply passing on what i read. i think it was on ceefax. i'm not sure, but aren't these books aimed at a younger audience, like harry potter? if so then it would seem quite believable that an american studio would want anti religious notions removed. they're not averse to changing history to capture an audience, so why not a work of fiction? to them it is just a franchise with a ready made audience, and imagine the reaction of the christian right in america if a film aimed at their youth criticised religion!
     
  10. Mr.D

    Mr.D
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    I'm not peeved no sweat.

    You can't take out the anti-religious message in the Pullman novels its not a subtext its the main driving force behind the plot . (it would be like taking all the mafia references out of the Godfather) The books have no defined age group but you are talking early teens and up . They are not particularly cuddly and are nothing like Harry Potter. I don't actually like them all that much as they still read like kids books , the subtexts are very in your face and rather strongly stated , little if any ambiguity .
     
  11. manny

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    well, i did say i was leaving myself open to criticism having not read the books! it'll be interesting to see what does happen with the films, i hope you're right and they don't change the whole thing. although i suppose there isn't much point talking more about it until we see what happens.
     
  12. manny

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  13. JayX

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    i think the comparison is unfair to begin with... daredevil and riddick are both crap films, designed to be crap and just look pretty in order to sell to the mainstream. there's plenty of real, and decent movies out there... the two you compared with should be classed as investments, rather than films. they're simply for people to advertise and market with rather than give film fans something to watch.
     
  14. Gary D

    Gary D
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    i think all you need to know about hollywood film making is on the LOTR:ROTK disc 2: easter egg - the MTV one, very funny but very true!!

    or those Orange adds at the cinema.

    To be honest this has been the year of discovering Asian Cinema which is mostly down to this forum and other members pointing me in the right direction.

    Hollywood seems to be obessed with remakes and sequels. Which is a crying shame really.



    Gary
     

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