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Thread: Art and Audience

  1. #16
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    Originally posted by Johann
    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.
    That would be true if, e.g., you are a professor in a University, a teacher in a school, or just about any WASP living in urban America. But, if you are a redneck, blue collar farmer who milks cows and slaughters animals, I think Schindler's List is enough. For two hours, this farmer will come to realize that s/he needs to think beyond udders and agriculture. That makes all the difference in the world; it is more than Godard could ever hope to accomplish and perhaps in the long run more profound.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 02:16 AM.
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    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
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  2. #17
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    Why would farmers be concerned about the holocaust in the first place? Where would he go to see a film? His livingroom?

    And I doubt he would be eager to jump on the social change bandwagon after seeing it, either. What's he gonna do about it?
    He may be glad he saw it, but he's got chickens to feed, dammit!
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  3. #18
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    Britney's gone astray. Send her over, J.

    On a serious note, my problem with the "commercial mainstream" is not that it exists per se. My problem is that the entertainment conglomerates behave in a violently imperialist way. For instance, it's sad to travel to Europe and Asia and witness the monopoly Hollywood has on what's shown in theatres while national cinemas suffer the consequences. Some countries such as France have passed effective legislation to alleviate the problem, but this is the exception. A Hollywood studio can force a theatre chain to show Torque in order to receive say...LOTR. In journalism, newspaper movie sections full of fluff pieces that belong on Tigerbeat. A great deal of the best cinema is simply not shown in theatres, outside of film festivals and a few traveling retros. Why do you think J hasn't seen a single Hou, and I haven't seen any of the Czech and Central Asian films he's been writing about. I've been waiting for 10 years to watch a film directed by Bela Tarr from Hungary. Finally, looks like this is my year. Guess what, I had to buy a special player because the dvd will only be released in the UK, where the disc format is different. But there are twenty screens in my town showing crap like Bad Boys 2. If people want movies to be like tv with better special effects, fine. I just want access to the best films.

  4. #19
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    Originally posted by Johann
    Why would farmers be concerned about the holocaust in the first place? Where would he go to see a film? His livingroom?

    And I doubt he would be eager to jump on the social change bandwagon after seeing it, either. What's he gonna do about it?
    He may be glad he saw it, but he's got chickens to feed, dammit!
    This is precisely the issue, J. There are more farmers out there than there are cinemaniacs. It is farmers that vote and so it is farmers that you have to reach.

    Approaching the next election in the United States, President Bush and his democratic counterpart are going to criss-cross America to try and get votes from Soccer Moms, Nascar Dads, Blue Collar Labour, Farmers, and other average Americans. They are going to talk about Iraq, Afghanistan, Islamic Fundamentalism, the Israeli-Palestinian Problem, the Environment, and so on. Movies, by shaping our thoughts and ideas, can effect our positions on these issues. Movies can help Americans appreciate and realize their place in the world as well as see the need to look beyond local or even national issues and consider the role they play in the rest of the world. Some Americans may wonder why the United States should fight wars in foreign countries and sacrifice sons and daughters: "Saving Private Ryan" and "Schindler's List" are examples of movies that are going to deliver some insight on these issues. Godard, some will say unfortunately, will not shape much public opinion on this issue.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
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  5. #20
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    Which only means that these hardworking souls will be muscled into whatever the politicians want them to believe.
    That's not social change, that's what you, me and all the other people with a brain DON'T want.

    That idea would be awesome if the people reaching out to "the people who vote" were honest and had their concerns at heart.
    It's all a steaming pile of BS to me. Pardon me if I think politicians and others in positions of power do things for themselves first.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  6. #21
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    Originally posted by oscar jubis
    On a serious note, my problem with the "commercial mainstream" is not that it exists per se. My problem is that the entertainment conglomerates behave in a violently imperialist way.
    I think you make a very good point here, oscar. This year I actually quit my work as a movie critic for a national, bi-weekly newspaper because I was endlessly frustrated by movies being pushed back or not going into wide release, e.g. the Human Stain. In one article at the beginning of 2003, I wrote about three movies I was looking forward to seeing and wanted my readers to see. At least one of them, as I recall, was not given wide release (Heaven) and another did not, to the best of my knowledge, get any North American distribution (Dogville).
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 02:43 AM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

    There's a spirituality in films, even if it's not one which can supplant faith
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  7. #22
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    Originally posted by Johann
    Which only means that these hardworking souls will be muscled into whatever the politicians want them to believe.
    That's not social change, that's what you, me and all the other people with a brain DON'T want.

    That idea would be awesome if the people reaching out to "the people who vote" were honest and had their concerns at heart.
    It's all a steaming pile of BS to me. Pardon me if I think politicians and others in positions of power do things for themselves first.
    That's why movies and other forms of art are important; that's why making art accessible is important. Movies and other art help voters cut through the "steaming pile of BS" and make informed voting decisions. There are honourable men and women, who from time to time seek political office but often they are not recognized because the electorate don't know any better. Whether we recognize it or not, we get the politicians we deserve.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  8. #23
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    Originally posted by anduril
    [BWhether we recognize it or not, we get the politicians we deserve. [/B]
    So true my friend- good dialogue here.

    We need a revolution in government and a revolution in filmmaking practices. We have so many artists that have to work harder than they should to get their work seen or heard.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  9. #24
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    Yes, I'm quite surprised by how well this thread caught on... I hope that some of those who posted early on will contribute again... I find this discussion very engaging and very important!!
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  10. #25
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    Originally posted by Johann


    So true my friend- good dialogue here.

    We need a revolution in government and a revolution in filmmaking practices. We have so many artists that have to work harder than they should to get their work seen or heard.
    This year's Oscars might be a step in the right direction... four nods for City of God...
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  11. #26
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    I'm not quite so cynical as to turn this into a "us" versus "them" argument. It's not that simple. (Of course, I may be one of the ignorant ones myself; I haven't heard of half the movies you guys talk about here!)

    Off the bat, we should ignore the Britney, Justin, "Torque" group. It is total BS, we all know it. Ignore it.

    But, there remain lots of people out there that are receptive to seeing what they consider to be "good" films. Of course, the problem is that it still needs to conform, in a way, to their pre-conceived expectations. No major surprises, please, and don't be boring.

    There are many people who are big fans of the films of M. Knight Shyamalan. They take his films seriously and debate the details. Lots of people liked "Gladiator" and identified with its message. Psychological thrillers like "Memento" and "Usual Suspects" are very popular. I didn't particularly like any of these movies, but I realize that they are still a step above "The Fast and the Furious", and whatever Adam Sandler's putting out. This is the kind of movie that Anduril is talking about here. They're the types of movies that have a chance to have an impact on the larger audience. (And, hopefully, they can act as a kind of "gate way drug", and the next thing you know our audience members will be renting Kubrick!)

    I do admire filmmakers that can make a popular film that still retains its integrity. Remember "Three Kings" from a few years ago? It had Clooney, Ice Cube, and Marky Mark in it, and I thought it was really well written and directed. It was a sharp movie, and ended up being pretty critical of U.S. actions in the first Gulf War. And, I mentioned "American Beauty" earlier. Also, I have to admit, I do like "Lost in Translation" this year, which has started to sell some tickets lately.

  12. #27
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    Originally posted by oscar jubis
    My problem is that the entertainment conglomerates behave in a violently imperialist way.

    Seems it's only going to get worse. Witness Comcast's proposal to merge with Disney: "We have a wonderful opportunity,'' Brian L. Roberts, chief executive of Comcast, wrote in his letter to Disney yesterday, "to create a company that combines distribution and content in a way that is far stronger and more valuable than either Disney or Comcast can be standing alone."

    When will enough be enough? Doesn't Wall Street have a conscience? Look at it from a point of view beyond a financial one, please!

  13. #28
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    Originally posted by JustaFied
    When will enough be enough? Doesn't Wall Street have a conscience? Look at it from a point of view beyond a financial one, please!
    No conscience. But that's how it's setup. Wall Street by definition has no conscience. The measure of success is growth, size, capital...

    People must take it upon themselves to seek out alternatives. Capitalism has no conscience.

    What I dislike more than anything is a culture that revels in the box office gross of a film, watching it as a measure of its success. But Im not sure this is a new thing. As long as there has been a way to make a buck someone has been doing it and obfuscating the division of art and commerce for atleast some portion of the public. We need to equip, when at all possible, people with the tools to differentiate.

  14. #29
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    I know, Wall Street is all about the bottom line, that's the nature of the business. But, that's where the regulators come in; they should be on the side of doing what's best for the public as a whole, not for what's best for these big corporations. That's not going to happen under this Administration, unfortunately, or with a Republican controlled Congress.

    Good lead editorial on this merger in today's New York Times. Here's a taste:

    <Neither the F.C.C. nor the Congress which currently seem more consumed by Janet Jackson's "wardrobe malfunction" than by serious matters of public policy has shown much appetite for creating new rules to address such dangers in an altered media landscape. The cable industry, the most powerful programming gatekeeper these days, does not face many of the same types of constraints once faced by broadcasters.

    Federal regulators could block the Comcast-Disney deal in the absence of any new rules by vaguely declaring it against the "public interest," but the public should be able to rely on a more explicit legal protection of media diversity. Comcast's proposed takeover of Disney, which would take the combined control of content and distribution into unchartered waters, should prompt a thorough debate on the proper limits for media consolidation. >

  15. #30
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    Great discussion. Allow me to suggest the essay below, an excerp from Jonathan Rosenbaum's "Movie Wars: How Hollywood and the Media Limit What Films We Can See". This excerpt deals with the complicity of the media and the so-called critics.

    http://www.chireader.com/movies/arch...00/001117.html

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