Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 126

Thread: Art and Audience

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330

    Art and Audience

    I think it is safe to assume that most users on these forums regard movies as art. I'm sure most would agree that some movies are extremely important because of the messages they communicate and the mirror they hold to society and our human condition. One of the problems, however, is that alot of the movies discussed on this forum are destined to be seen by only a select few. Moreover, directors who make their "art" more palatable are seen as somehow compromising the art form. The question this inevitably raises is what good is art that goes (relatively) unseen or art that is misunderstood.

    Perhaps an interesting case in point...

    Some of you may know that Stanley Kubrick intended to make a Holocaust movie called "Aryan Papers." This project was shelved when Spielberg started work on "Schindler's List." I, personally, lament the fact that Kubrick's movie was never made; I think it would have been a better, more powerful, less humanistic, more profound account of the Holocaust than Spielberg's admittedly still great movie. Of course, the flip side of the coin is that Kubrick's movie would not have had the same impact as Spielberg's movie has had. Not only did Spielberg's movie receive critical and popular acclaim as well as box office and awards success but Spielberg was able to turn these profits and direct the attention of viewers towards the event in many other ways, including a series of documentaries, the Shoah Film Project, and several other significant public service endeavors. I doubt very much that Kubrick's movie, though almost certainly better craft, would have had the capacity to make such an impact.

    So, to cut to the point, what are your thoughts on the interrelationship of art and audience, critical and popular success, and so on?
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    373
    Good question. What is "art"? I'd argue that art is anything that someone has created, regardless of whether it has any merit to you or me. It's a form of expression.

    The vast majority of movies being released today I consider "bad art". They're derivative, formulaic, manipulative, and most of all, boring.

    To me, "good art" films are ones that at least try to be unique and present a new point of view of some sort. Even if they're not trying to solve all the mysteries of the universe in one film. I love films like "Pulp Fiction", "Bottle Rocket", "Election", and "Nashville" (to name a few) partly because they seem so fresh and unique in the context of other films of their time.

    Art certainly has the ability to effect change, or at least to get people to think. Unfortunately, it seems that mainstream success in this regard is often achieved by movies that are dumbed down to some degree. It seems that mainstream audiences like certainty, and they like their themes spelled out for them. It helps to have a "good" guy fighting the "bad" guy. Erin Brokovich was a hero.

    You mentioned "Schindler's List". I'll mention another Spielberg film, "Saving Private Ryan". It was much more popular than the other WWII movie that came out that year, "The Thin Red Line". I consider TRL a superior film. It had a bigger impact on me, but "Ryan" surely had a bigger impact on moviegoers as a whole, because more of them saw it.

    I'd love to see a really good film be really popular. I thought "American Beauty" was a really good film, and it did pretty well at the box office. I think it had an impact.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    New York
    Posts
    444
    Today, we tend to think we are aware of the good art that exists around us and perhaps we are... But as a society of people who feel entitled to art, the criteria are often dumbed down: if it's not accessible it's not relevant art etc. As far as I'm concerned, total BS. I think there are methodologies for at least attempting to evaluate art. Some factors that come to mind: contemporary relevance, stylistic innovation, awareness of precedent etc. These are some things which I think are most often present in what I would call artistically successful films/music/books whatever. Popular acceptance is not really a criteria for me.
    P

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,666
    If you have a big audience you can't really say you respect them -you don't know who they are.
    Jean-Luc Godard

    Films should be made to divide people. The idea of the masses is an invention of the producers, of the cultural industry. Films that pretend to be made for the masses are really made to keep them in their place, to violate them or to fascinate them. Consequently, they don't give people the liberty to get up and leave.
    Jean-Marie Straub

    It comes down to filthy lucre. If you could get the profit out of film, you'd be left with people who love it. The other 90% of American directors would say "let's open a shoe factory" or "let's open a disco and sell coke".
    Robert Altman

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    Excellent quotes, oscar.

    The movie-going public are largely apathetic. I'm sure of it.

    One of the drawbacks of actually leaving the house to see a film is the conversations you hear from other patrons. I've been known to tell people off- ask anduril!- when at the theatre.

    People piss me off with the blathering nonsense they usually spew while waiting for the lights to dim.
    They don't know art from tupperware. I heard one chick shriek to her "posse" that she forgot to tape "Friends"- at an art house screening of Rivette's Va Savoir!

    And what about those keeners that like to whisper to their spouses the intricate plot points and speculations about what direction the action will take? OOOOH does that irk me. And they always seem to sit RIGHT behind you....

    I know that there are also true film lovers out there who want to have a great time at the movies AND appreciate a good film. But with the major studios constantly trying to tap into the "youth dollar" by marketing pieces of shit like Torque and 40 Days and 40 Nights (ugh I hate typing those words) we are inundated with pure manufactured garbage. Just like Britney, Justin, Christina, Timmy, Joey, and Sally- the useless, pretentious pop pap that we are beat over the head with daily. When will these people go to OBLIVIONLAND? They've had tickets for years! first class! Get on the bus you phony fucking cocksuckers! Enough already!
    I heard Justin Timberlake is making a film. For fuck's sakes.
    The guy is about as interesting to me as watching grass grow.
    Take your annoying, needs-a-shave peach-fuzz ass and book it to Vanilla Ice-ville.
    I've asked chicks what's so great about this loser, and the only response I get is "HE'S HOT!"
    That's it? He's "hot". Whoopty-shit.
    Yes, I HATE Timberlake. His name sucks, his music sucks, HE sucks. His fame is the most baffling thing I can think of. NO TIMBERLAKE MOVIES! I'm gonna start a petition.

    That's the reason audiences are dumb: Britney and Justin.
    They've ruined the current movie-making scheme.
    Last edited by Johann; 03-31-2004 at 05:22 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330
    Originally posted by pmw
    Popular acceptance is not really a criteria for me.
    P
    I agree that popularity should not be a criteria in deciding what is art and what isn't. What I am asking, however, is whether or to what degree filmmakers ought to strive to make their art accessible, recognizing that this is often necessary to effect change?
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    As Kubrick said: NO COMPROMISE
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2002
    Posts
    4,666
    The directors I quoted implied a big, resounding NO.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330
    Originally posted by Johann
    Excellent quotes, oscar.
    J: Quite frankly, your post contradicts the very essence of Oscar's quotes. You express such contempt for popular culture and you strongly suggest that if you could have your way you would want everyone to appreciate movies the way you do. Oscar's quotes, however, stress the value of limited audiences and the importance of differance (to draw a word from Derrida).

    Also, why such contempt? Surely there are aspects of culture and society for which you do not have the kind of passion/appreciation that it may deserve. Some people just don't watch movies the way you do; instead, they may read books that way; or they may appreciate stamps that way; or, they may show passion for social justice; etc. etc. I don't think it is fair to show the kind of contempt that you have shown in your post.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 01:32 AM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    In a way I do appreciate the "differences" between art films and pop culture, (it allows me to declare my allegiance to art) but I also have supreme contempt for the aspects of "poop" culture (Justin, Britney, American Idol) that proclaim to be talented, artistic (does anyone besides naive teens actually believe that Britney Spears is talented?) If so, they need professional help.
    (OSCAR! can I refer them to your practice?)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330
    Originally posted by oscar jubis
    The directors I quoted implied a big, resounding NO.
    Yes, they do but I'm not sure they make a convincing argument for why that's the correct answer. Godard may be recognized by a select group of cinemaniacs as a great and influential director but his movies, no matter how smart or how relevant, will never, ever effect the kind of social change that Spielberg accomplishes with his movies. Isn't the purpose of art to stimulate such change? What is the point of a movie, no matter how brilliant, that goes unseen by the "ignorant" people who need to see it most?
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330
    Originally posted by Johann
    In a way I do appreciate the "differences" between art films and pop culture, (it allows me to declare my allegiance to art) but I also have supreme contempt for the aspects of "poop" culture (Justin, Britney, American Idol) that proclaim to be talented, artistic (does anyone besides naive teens actually believe that Britney Spears is talented?) If so, they need professional help.
    (OSCAR! can I refer them to your practice?)
    I sympathize to a large degree... I think that humans exist for far greater purposes than the trash that industry often produces.

    However, at the same time, alot of this stuff is escapist entertainment. Some of it appeals to people precisely because it is fluff. Personally, I spend alot of intellectual energies in writing essays and studying the Bible on a professional, academic level... when it's time to sit back and relax, I often don't want to pop into the DVD player something that is intellectually demanding... I want to watch something or listen to music that will not make the kind of demands on me that Godard, Kubrick, Kieslowski, or Scorsese will make.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    That's just the kind of thinking that fuels the studios, man.

    That's the sad reality: we have to get the word out with websites like this. Otherwise the Spielberg's and Lucas's WILL be considered the social change presidents they claim to be.

    It's so frustrating that schools & parents aren't really concerned with the mass marketers, money men and spin doctors who invade our collective consciousness with their questionable "entertainment". Hell, they seem to ACCEPT IT as a fact of life. That's just wrong.

    P.S. I've admitted here that I secretly like the Anna Nicole Smith Show- something I like to watch when I don't want to be "intellectually stimulated". But if I was to be bare-soul honest I shouldn't enjoy it. See, the marketers of "reality TV" have even got me! and Trailer Park Boys is fine for "parking your brain" as well. I love Bubbles....
    Last edited by Johann; 02-12-2004 at 01:54 AM.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Edmonton, Canada
    Posts
    330
    Originally posted by Johann
    That's just the kind of thinking that fuels the studios, man.

    That's the sad reality: we have to get the word out with websites like this. Otherwise the Spielberg's and Lucas's WILL be considered the social change presidents they claim to be.

    It's so frustrating that schools & parents aren't really concerned with the mass marketers, money men and spin doctors who invade our collective consciousness with their questionable "entertainment". Hell, they seem to ACCEPT IT as a fact of life. That's just wrong.
    But, you are dealing with real people, J. You often have to meet them where they at: Spielberg excels at this. He understands the limitations of his audience. He understands that many people do not devote their intellectual energies to understand the intricacies and subtleties of French nouvelle cinema or any foreign film for that matter. Most people out there, and yes "most," do not want to make the time to watch Kubrick movies hundreds of times over or watch movies in other languages or see movies that require them to decipher messages in layers of obfuscation... most people devote their lives to other things, some just as valuable or even more valuable than movies. Yet, Spielberg wants to reach these people because they are the people who vote; these are the teachers in our elementary schools; these are the people that can demand change.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 02:00 AM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
    Martin Scorsese

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Ottawa Canada
    Posts
    5,499
    Your point is well taken, and yes, Spielberg is a genius at manipulating that demographic.

    I guess I'm just bewildered that people won't look deeper.
    If your interest or knowledge of the holocaust stops at Schindler's List, Houston we have a problem.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

Page 1 of 9 123 ... LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •