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Movies vs Cinema?

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  • opaloka
    replied
    Originally posted by L'Etranger

    I would love to hear your opinions on the value of *** Cinematography *** ...:
    My observation is that films are treated more as 'industrial products' in the Anglo-American world and more as 'expressions of art' (even as part of the "High Culture" at par with theatre) by most Continental Europeans.
    I tend to think that in modern American culture, there is no distinction - the two things are the same. That is not to say that 'product' is expressive or artistic, or that 'art' takes on the characteristics of product, although those things have happened in the past, but that 'art' and 'product' is a false dichotomy, a remnant of a European religious and political hierarchy that no longer exists in any meaningful way. 'Art' is always product, and 'Product' is always art, and both can (and are) judged by standards of aesthetics and functionality. The phrase 'It works for me' is often applied to objects of art, and 'That's beautiful' is applied to industrial inventions.

    I believe this is a manifest reality, that doesn't mean I'm entirely comfortable with all that it implies, in particular the loss of objectivity in the viewer/audience when there is no discrete stage or frame to seperate them from the artwork. I think the formal 'frame' is the ferment in which the art does it's magic, allowing the viewer the choice of involvement and the freedom of reflection. It remains to be seen what this 'decontextualization' of art really does, but it IS very much Puritan and American.

    I guess what happens is that we invade other countries.

    Leave a comment:


  • L'Etranger
    started a topic Movies vs Cinema?

    Movies vs Cinema?

    (Tried launching this discussion thread in "Reasoned Debate", but perhaps it wasn't political enough ..., so here it is now where it obviously belongs ... )

    I would love to hear your opinions on the value of *** Cinematography *** ...:
    My observation is that films are treated more as 'industrial products' in the Anglo-American world and more as 'expressions of art' (even as part of the "High Culture" at par with theatre) by most Continental Europeans.

    Look at the festivals. Those that culturally matter are the renowned festivals here like Cannes, Venice, San Sebastian, Berlin, Moscow. Or, at least they are outside the US and UK if you count Havanna and Toronto and Montreal. The only noteworthy American festival within the US to which artistic films from the US are sent is SUNDANCE which is still somewhat marginal. American Cinema- which exists (!) - actually goes to Europe each year, to Deauville mainly, to Cannes and Berlin to launch more ambitious major productions there!
    All noteworthy works of "cinema" (I provokingly make the distinction here) from the US ornate themselves with overseas laurels taken at these festivals to advertise themselves to their own viewers in America.
    How do people here personally view cinematographic creations?
    Are they products? And are they as such part of your culture like tennis shoes, coffee-to-go, mobility, Valentine cards and something you just enjoy? Or more like something you consider an essential part of your cultural life, something that one more or less has to be in touch with, like feeling an obligtion to read certain sections of the NYT, if you don't want to be discounted? Is having seen a movie enough or being able to discuss its techniques, dramatic structures etc a part of it or not?
    I have the impression that in America the motion picture production is considered a powerful and vital industry, whereas in most of our countries in Europe movies are seen as part of THE Arts and, in case of France, part of the National cultural identity.
    This difference also makes it a political issue. Regularly there is considerable pressure from America on European governments to give up film funding, arguing this support distorts the competition for US movies (which have pocketed up to 90% of the market here, anyway). Whereas for the Europeans it is about protecting identity and her own little industry (some of the best of which then go to America anyway).

    Please note: it is not about good or bad approaches. I think in either appreciation form there is LOVE for the wonderful world of, err, projected moving images.
    Last edited by L'Etranger; 09-17-2006, 11:04 PM.
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