Tuesday, January 17, 2012

The Art of Film

As Sundance closely approaches, I just wanted to reflect on what it is about film that I love so much. I actually think my pop culture book* puts it best:

"Reading a film is much like reading a novel. Both are texts filled with intentional and unintentional signs, metaphors, and archetypes, and both are cultural signifiers. The major difference is their medium of expression...That film is such a sensory experience often conceals its textuality. One is tempted to sit back and go with the flow, to say that it's only entertainment and doesn't have to 'mean' anything at all. But as cinematic forms of storytelling overtake written forms of expression, the study of movies as complex texts bearing cultural messages and values is becoming more and more important."

I think you can substitute "television" in that paragraph is well. And don't get me wrong, I love books. But these days, I just don't have as much time on my hands to read a 300-page novel as I do to watch a two hour movie or TV show. You can get just as complex of characters, just as much literary depth, and just as much commentary on society on the screen as you can on a page.

In my film class, we are learning to find merit in everything we watch, even if it's a movie we don't automatically "like" or resonate with. No longer are we to judge movies on a thumbs up or thumbs down scale. Each movie we see is trying to tell us something - it is up to us to interpret that and determine whether or not we want to listen.

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