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Thread: Art and Audience

  1. #31
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    Art and Societal Change?

    anduril's first post had a hidden agenda and a pre-supposed assumption that "good art" and "societal change" are conflicted because "good art" is not dumbed down enough so that a lot of people see it so as to cause massive societal change. Such a definition of "good art" also assumes that movies have a specific medium or format of "good art" as opposed to music or paintings or sculptures. anduril may be confusing "art" for "political change" as "good art."

    I can imagine that there a numerous paintings and selections of music that are considered "good" that are not meant to be part of some "societal revolution." Some works of "good art" and I assume "art movies" included my be defined only in terms of their impact on the person who experiences it. Does it resonant, create some deeply appreciated experience. Does it make a person feel intensely? Does "good art" necessarily have to have some clearly defined meaning, some logical outline for right and wrong? I think not.

    "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was an excellent "art film" that required no need for massive large scale audiences. "2001: A Space Odyssey" brought forth a whole new way of looking at outer space...attitudinal shifts. "Jaws" made a whole generation aware of the dangers of the ocean. "ET" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" presented a benign image of space aliens. There are movies such as "Three Days of Condor" about government conspiracy. "All the President's Men" about Watergate.

    There are great movies about love.

    What anduril is really look is a subclass or subcategory of good art movies - "good propaganda art films" that seek to influence, to put across certain ideas and beliefs in order to change society.

    Documentaries have had some influence towards this goal while other good art films have no goal or objective whatsoever about what anduril seeks. "It's a Wonderful Life" could be considered a classic art film in his ability to both capture the massives, promote the common man against the rich, evil business barons, and its ability to retain its vitality over the years as one of the most satisfying, never dying films made.

    Possibly one could create a new definition of a great art movie to consist of being both true to the film-maker's idea of technical, theoretical brilliance AND capturing the imagination of millions of viewers...so that an art movie that fails to capture an audience is not great art but only a sound of a tree falling in a forest with nobody to hear it (it doesn't exist).

  2. #32
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    great article

    Thanks for the link Oscar. I particularly liked this:

    Part of the reason is that movies are regarded as a "democratic art," which means that anyone and everyone is entitled to have an opinion about them -- a position I'm not interested in contesting because of my belief in democratic values. But problems begin when opinion becomes confused with expertise -- when individuals are proclaimed experts because they're publicly stating an opinion.
    There are so many columnists and critics so full of themselves, and at no point in their writing do they say anything valuable. It's as if having the job is enough. The notion that you'd actually have to be a critical critic never enters their mind or work.

    The junket portion of the article is very interesting. I've heard quite a few junket tales. These are so funny. I think the writers should go on the junkets, write whatever they feel like writing and if they never get invited back, so be it. What's amazing to me is that the opportunity to travel somewhere and get herded around is appealing enough to write the fluff pieces.

  3. #33
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    Re: Art and Societal Change?

    Originally posted by tabuno
    anduril's first post had a hidden agenda and a pre-supposed assumption that "good art" and "societal change" are conflicted because "good art" is not dumbed down enough so that a lot of people see it so as to cause massive societal change. Such a definition of "good art" also assumes that movies have a specific medium or format of "good art" as opposed to music or paintings or sculptures. anduril may be confusing "art" for "political change" as "good art."

    I can imagine that there a numerous paintings and selections of music that are considered "good" that are not meant to be part of some "societal revolution." Some works of "good art" and I assume "art movies" included my be defined only in terms of their impact on the person who experiences it. Does it resonant, create some deeply appreciated experience. Does it make a person feel intensely? Does "good art" necessarily have to have some clearly defined meaning, some logical outline for right and wrong? I think not.

    "Picnic at Hanging Rock" was an excellent "art film" that required no need for massive large scale audiences. "2001: A Space Odyssey" brought forth a whole new way of looking at outer space...attitudinal shifts. "Jaws" made a whole generation aware of the dangers of the ocean. "ET" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" presented a benign image of space aliens. There are movies such as "Three Days of Condor" about government conspiracy. "All the President's Men" about Watergate.

    There are great movies about love.

    What anduril is really look is a subclass or subcategory of good art movies - "good propaganda art films" that seek to influence, to put across certain ideas and beliefs in order to change society.

    Documentaries have had some influence towards this goal while other good art films have no goal or objective whatsoever about what anduril seeks. "It's a Wonderful Life" could be considered a classic art film in his ability to both capture the massives, promote the common man against the rich, evil business barons, and its ability to retain its vitality over the years as one of the most satisfying, never dying films made.

    Possibly one could create a new definition of a great art movie to consist of being both true to the film-maker's idea of technical, theoretical brilliance AND capturing the imagination of millions of viewers...so that an art movie that fails to capture an audience is not great art but only a sound of a tree falling in a forest with nobody to hear it (it doesn't exist).
    Interesting reading of my post... I'm not sure, however, that I can agree with your claim that there are movies that do not seek change or influence. Simply because a subsequent aspect of my discussion, especially with Johann, delved into politics does not mean I limit it to that sphere either nor do I think my initial post belied that limitation. You brought up a fine list of movies that attempt to influence people in alternative, also very important ways. The list only engages and supports my original point, i.e. film needs to be seen; if it isn't seen, what good is it? Can art exist without an audience?
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  4. #34
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    film needs to be seen; if it isn't seen, what good is it? Can art exist without an audience?
    Im interested in that Anduril. What are your own thoughts? I think art without an audience tends to be rendered irrelevant, but is fostering an audience the job of the artist or is seeking out the art the job of the audience? I tend to think that it's some combination of the two.
    P

  5. #35
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    I tend to be pretty pragmatic about this in that I think art does need to be seen in order to be art. Though I agree with you that it requires both the artist and the audience working towards that end.

    I guess one of the problems I see is that some filmmakers clearly drive the audience away by being unnecessarily esoteric or extreme. This makes me suspect because it seems to me that they are being pretentious ... they give the pretense of being an artist but in actuality they resort to obfuscation or gratuitious violence/sexuality/nudity in order to obscure their own lack of talent, their own inability to say anything truly meaningful. And then, what's worse, cinemaniacs come along to praise these works not because they actually enjoyed them or found them to be truly profound but because it is chic or en vogue to do so. I find this to be much more contemptible then those people whom Johann holds in such contempt in an earlier post in this thread. Why? Because even if the people who love the trash that is produced by industry are not showing any discretion or are allowing their baser instincts to drive what they watch or listen to, at least, they are being in some sense genuine or authentic. Is that always the case... no, of course not... sometimes it's all about peer pressure and popularity there too.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 09:46 PM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  6. #36
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    I guess I don't have any more distain for the posers than I do for those who just accept what's fed to them. I mean, neither are really what I would call "interesting".

    To bring it back to something tangible, which films were you thinking of specifically? I'd be interested to know.

    P

  7. #37
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    You're calling me out and I fear to take the bait because I know that some of these films/filmmakers are very respected on this forum.

    I don't want to lose my audience in this thread by mentioning these titles/names. :-)
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  8. #38
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    No, I was just finding it hard to take the discussion much further without knowing the specifics of the context. I mean, I definitely agree that there are films which pose as art and use certain techniques to obfuscate their shortcomings. I kind of feel like Lost in Translation falls into that category (there's my example). You mention violence. Were you thinking of Invincible? something else? Lars Von Trier? Anyway, just looking for something concrete to respond to. Definitely not trying to set you up to be slammed. Im open to anything (I think...).
    P

  9. #39
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    Okay, but I'm going to get slammed, I know it:

    Godard is one the biggest offenders in this regard; some of Bergman's work is very pretentious; Greenaway is beyond gratuitous; Tarkovsky erred towards pretention at times...

    Please, bear in mind, I'm not saying these are "bad" directors. In actual fact, I appreciate movies from all four these directors.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  10. #40
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    Ok, well I'll let someone else do the slamming... and you deserve it. I will say that I don't think that acquiescing to baser instincts is genuine. After all we are all equipped with brains and the ability to think critically. Im not denying that there are pretentious films/filmgoers, but what about industry-trash do you find more compelling...?

  11. #41
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    Originally posted by anduril
    some filmmakers clearly drive the audience away by being unnecessarily esoteric or extreme. This makes me suspect because it seems to me that they are being pretentious ... . And then, what's worse, cinemaniacs come along to praise these works not because they actually enjoyed them or found them to be truly profound but because it is chic or en vogue to do so.

    "Esoteric" and "extreme" are particularly subjective terms. Definitions would vary according to each person's level of experience with similar art. Appreciating cinema, like any other art, involves a learning process. It need not be academic and elitist. It can be experiential and self-directed. Overtime, you may find yourself , if not enjoying these artists you call "pretentious", at least acknowledging that others sincerely enjoy them and find them profound. It's presumptuous to assume otherwise.

    The fact that I have difficulty with Ulysses doesn't mean James Joyce is pretentious and his fans fakers and posers.

  12. #42
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    PMW: I never said I found industry trash more compelling because I don't... Personally, I find pretentious crap more compelling than industry trash... What I said is that I find more contemptible those cinemaniacs who will laud praises on filmmakers simply because it is chic or en vogue to do so than I find common people contemptible who take superficial joy out of listening to industry trash.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 11:45 PM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  13. #43
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    Originally posted by oscar jubis
    "Esoteric" and "extreme" are particularly subjective terms. Definitions would vary according to each person's level of experience with similar art. Appreciating cinema, like any other art, involves a learning process. It need not be academic and elitist. It can be experiential and self-directed. Overtime, you may find yourself , if not enjoying these artists you call "pretentious", at least acknowledging that others sincerely enjoy them and find them profound. It's presumptuous to assume otherwise.

    The fact that I have difficulty with Ulysses doesn't mean James Joyce is pretentious and his fans fakers and posers.
    To a degree, I agree. However, some stuff just is what it is. For instance, I see no way not to call Greenaway extreme in his depiction of nudity and violence. Sure, I can accept that Greenaway may have something to say underneath it all or that his technique is innovative maybe even brilliant, but in many movies he has chosen a way of delivering his art that it alienates 99% of the moviegoing audience. And, in doing so, his message goes unheard... it seems a filthy waste of his talent to me.

    I don't think there's enough of sufficient relevance or resonance behind the eye-catching images and bizarre conceits.
    -- Oscar Jubis, Film Critic Extraordinaire.

    Furthermore, consider for a moment, Godard's "Hail Mary". This movie is replete with inexplicable jump cuts to open fields. Whatever the craft involved in Godard's filmmaking, these jump cuts are meaningless nonsense trying to pass for profoundity. It's not profound and again, perhaps I'm assuming too much, but who can defend these techniques as anything but?

    I'm not a dollard writing about something I haven't seen... I know these filmmakers because I've watched at least some of their movies.
    Last edited by anduril; 02-12-2004 at 11:29 PM.
    http://anduril.ca/movies/

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

  14. #44
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    [QUOTE]Originally posted by anduril
    I don't think there's enough of sufficient relevance or resonance behind the eye-catching images and bizarre conceits.
    -- Oscar Jubis


    Indeed, not enough to compare Greenaway with Tarkovsky, Ozu and Bresson, as Johann did. Which is quite different than labeling Greenaway among those "who give the pretense of being an artist" and implying Johann loves him because "it is chic or in vogue to do so".
    I prefer it when you call Greenaway "extreme in his depiction of sex and violence". It's a value statement. It's perfectly valid to find the values conveyed by a director, be it explicitly or implicitly, contrary to your own values. It's an integral part of who you are that permeates your artistic judgement as well as everything else. Asking myself what is it in me that reacts in a particular way to a film has been a growth experience. It's not a bad idea to look at things from a different angle. For instance, I seem to be more perturbed by films that romanticize and glorify violence and films that promote nationalism than most people, and less perturbed than most by nudity and sexuality.

  15. #45
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    Greenaway may alienate 99% of his audience, but that's the AUDIENCE'S fault, not his.
    He makes his art. He has said "think of what a work of art demands of it's audience". If I could hand that phrase out on a slip of paper to everyone entering multiplexes THAT might affect social change. They might drop their bag of popcorn and say "That dude is right: fuck Torque".

    I just saw a documentary at the Alberta College of Art called Stupidity. It outlines the major movie studios, government & corporations that have a deathly fear of alienating the masses.
    They have to hold the attention of a society whose actual attention span is 3 seconds.

    If you're not titillated, shocked or bizarrely interested in the program, you'll change the channel. The doc clearly pointed out that being intelligent is not cool. Nobody encourages anybody to become smarter, read Balzac, watch FUCKING GREENAWAY or concentrate on writing a poem. We've been dumbed down. We
    have access to more information and art and have the freedom to do almost anything we want, yet we choose stupidity.
    I say "we" because I'm dumb too- I watch the Anna Nicole Smith Show. We choose Jerry Springer and Maury Povich and Britney.
    We are a society of idiots. Plain and simple. We know war is stupid. We know driving drunk is stupid. We still do it.
    Einstein said: "The universe and stupidity are infinite. But I'm not certain about the former".

    "Art and Audience" is at best wishful thinking.

    Greenaway belongs in the pantheon. Put that on my grave.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

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