Film as Art

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hue-man
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 01:53 pm
Do you guys consider movies or films to be art? I know that I certainly do, but do you consider all movies to be art? For example, do you consider comedy movies to be art? Do you consider action movies like Die Hard to be art? Please include your reasons with your initial yes or no answer?
 
xris
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 02:09 pm
@hue-man,
It is art, yes.It is modern cultural art, it is judged by the populace unlike other specific art.We the great public view and decide , not like the insular world of high art that is classified by self serving so called experts.Art of the common man is our flicks.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 03:51 pm
@hue-man,
Typically I see a divide between movies and film as a way to distinguish whether it is art or not. I think of movies to be things like summer action blockbusters or mindless comedies that offer little substance. On the other hand, I see films as art, being they emphasis things like plot, character development, language use, unique cinematography, costumes, etc. into a substantive film. Of course, my distinction is my own personal interpretation. It just seems that so many movies in recent history are acted in front of blue screens, have a plot that doesn't matter, and uses splashy special effects to reel in viewers. To me that is not art, just as throwing random musical notes together, or splattering paint on paper is not art.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 04:00 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
Typically I see a divide between movies and film as a way to distinguish whether it is art or not. I think of movies to be things like summer action blockbusters or mindless comedies that offer little substance. On the other hand, I see films as art, being they emphasis things like plot, character development, language use, unique cinematography, costumes, etc. into a substantive film. Of course, my distinction is my own personal interpretation. It just seems that so many movies in recent history are acted in front of blue screens, have a plot that doesn't matter, and uses splashy special effects to reel in viewers. To me that is not art, just as throwing random musical notes together, or splattering paint on paper is not art.


I don't know. I still kind of think comedy movies and action movies are art because they are an expression of the directors, screenwriters, and actors. I think the contrast you make between movies and films is that you consider one to be good art and the other to be bad art. It's easy to see films like No country for old men, The Godfather, and others as art because of the level of emotional depth within the films. Does a work of art have to be deep to be art, or does it being deep just make it good or substantial art?
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 04:54 pm
@hue-man,
Auteur theory goes a long way here. Other arts usually have a singular artistic vision: visual arts, literature and music. Collaborative and complementary artistic visions exist in these and in theatre. In the latter case, the writer imposes a particular vision in some fields, the director in others.

A lot of films aren't expressions of anything. They are a consumer item made by a corporation. Others have rather modest expressions, usually from film-makers who know their craft but work within the studio system. But some people are so successful within that system, or by working outside of it, that they can impose a dominant artistic expression. The most dominant expression comes from the director, or better the writer-director. Such artists have always existed, from Murnau, Chaplin and Pabst via Ophuls, Hitchcock and Godard to, today, film-makers like Bela Tarr, Abbas Kiarostami and Pedro Almodovar. These film-makers are true artists, whether they make us laugh (like Chaplin), cry (like Ophuls), scared (like Murnau and Hitchcock) or think (like Godard).

I do think auteur theory does underplay the roles of other artists, such as the cinematographer (where would Godard be without Coutard) and the actors (Chaplin's performances made him probably the finest cinema artist there will ever be). Film is still a collaborative art, and one could imagine that the number of collaborators does not necessarily diminish the work.

So, to me, film is art when it is made by an artist. I believe this about all art forms: a lot of pop fiction and music are simply commodities to be manufactured and sold. It may seem a snobbish view, but when I watch Last Year in Marienbad, I feel I'm watching art. When I watch Die Hard 4.0, I feel I'm watching money being made

Action films are an interesting genre insofar as it seems like a no-go area for film artists. Many great artists have tackled comedy, horror, sci-fi, war movies, sports movies, period movies and even erotica (Kubrick tackled all of the above), but action is avoided. The most artistic director I can think of who has tackled the genre is Spielberg. Spielberg is the artist-as-storyteller, a field I'm not sure is actually art but craft. But this also explains why action films are usually of such bad quality in most respects. The Bourne films have attempted to redress this balance, but they are still purely visceral: they provoke a short burst of adrenaline and then... nothing. Surely art should remain with you.
 
Krumple
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 08:36 pm
@hue-man,
Good question here... "Do you guys consider movies or films to be art?"

I saw a movie not long ago called S.Darko. It is nothing but art because the story is so awkward. Check it out if you don't care if movies make sense and you don't require that movies have a formula.

As for movies in general, well some movies are more like contemporary art while others are more towards abstract art. Art is a spectrum so why can't movies fall into the same sort of spectrum? A comedy could be viewed like a comic. Would you not consider a comic, art?
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 08:44 pm
@hue-man,
I am not saying that all comedies are not art. I was more thinking along the lines of stupid movies like Don't Mess with the Zohan and any movie by Paulie Shore. On the other hand, movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Being John Malkovich are comedies, and they are driven by artists. A comedy is not necessarily funny, and in fact, can be very dark and twisted (i.e. The Cable Guy staring Jim Carey).
 
Yogi DMT
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 08:47 pm
@hue-man,
No, die hard is not art. Some great movies are. Yes, die hard may be a fun movie to watch but i do not consider it art. When a movie really is great than i can consider it art and not just art it could even be truly beautiful art. What do i define a good movie as? Not a movie that has a high-budget, the most expensive actors, ect. I like movies when they have a solid plot and storyline, a plot that is clever, well thought-out, and mostly meaningful. For something to be meaningful, to me at least, it has to have a message, a purpose. If movies portray their plot into a combination of visuals and auditory aids well than the movie can really be fantastic. Today's movies just seem to have no meaning, some of them do but i find them becoming more scarce. Fight club is an example of a work of art Smile.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 08:52 pm
@hue-man,
If anyone wants to see a couple of recent films that are great examples of art, I highly recommend both Synecdoche, New York and Revolutionary Road. The former is another excellent Charlie Kaufmann film (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation)--which you can read my review here in the Television subforum--and Revolutionary Road is from another excellent movie by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition).
 
hue-man
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 08:55 pm
@Yogi DMT,
Yogi DMT wrote:
No, die hard is not art. Some great movies are. Yes, die hard may be a fun movie to watch but i do not consider it art. When a movie really is great than i can consider it art and not just art it could even be truly beautiful art. What do i define a good movie as? Not a movie that has a high-budget, the most expensive actors, ect. I like movies when they have a solid plot and storyline, a plot that is clever, well thought-out, and mostly meaningful. For something to be meaningful, to me at least, it has to have a message, a purpose. If movies portray their plot into a combination of visuals and auditory aids well than the movie can really be fantastic. Today's movies just seem to have no meaning, some of them do but i find them becoming more scarce. Fight club is an example of a work of art Smile.


This seems like another contrast between what you consider to be good art and what you consider to be bad art. If art is self-expression, then why can't Die Hard or Deuce Bigalow be art? I agree that the films may lack depth or substance, but wouldn't that just make them bad art in your eyes? Can a movie be bad art but a good movie?

---------- Post added at 11:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:55 PM ----------

Theaetetus wrote:
If anyone wants to see a couple of recent films that are great examples of art, I highly recommend both Synecdoche, New York and Revolutionary Road. The former is another excellent Charlie Kaufmann film (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation)--which you can read my review here in the Television subforum--and Revolutionary Road is from another excellent movie by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition).


Road to Perdition was a good film. I recommend The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.
 
Yogi DMT
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 09:04 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
This seems like another contrast between what you consider to be good art and what you consider to be bad art. If art is self-expression, then why can't Die Hard or Deuce Bigalow be art? I agree that the films may lack depth or substance, but wouldn't that just make them bad art in your eyes? Can a movie be bad art but a good movie?

---------- Post added at 11:00 PM ---------- Previous post was at 10:55 PM ----------



Road to Perdition was a good film. I recommend The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.


You do have a point but i'd just like to think of it as not art at all but more of a way to become famous, get money, feed people's violence-starving minds, and play into the whole business and media end. I guess technically could be considered art but i just don't see the concept and creativity in those movies.

And when i get a chance, i might look into those films. Im open to anything Smile
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 09:11 pm
@hue-man,
hue-man wrote:
This seems like another contrast between what you consider to be good art and what you consider to be bad art. If art is self-expression, then why can't Die Hard or Deuce Bigalow be art? I agree that the films may lack depth or substance, but wouldn't that just make them bad art in your eyes? Can a movie be bad art but a good movie?

Road to Perdition was a good film. I recommend The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford.


I just don't see things like Die Hard or Deuce Bigalow as art, much as I don't see most graffiti as art. Sure, movies of these types can be enjoyable to watch, but some commercials probably could be enjoyable to watch as well, but few people are going to see commercial advertisements as an art.
 
hue-man
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 09:19 pm
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
I just don't see things like Die Hard or Deuce Bigalow as art, much as I don't see most graffiti as art. Sure, movies of these types can be enjoyable to watch, but some commercials probably could be enjoyable to watch as well, but few people are going to see commercial advertisements as an art.


Why don't you see graffiti as art? I live in New York and I've seen street inspired art or graffiti that was creative, conceptual, and visually stimulating. I'm not talking about the graffiti where people just write their names or draw a penis on the wall.
 
Theaetetus
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 09:23 pm
@hue-man,
Well, I do see inspired graffiti as art--and most people do--I was talking about all of the tagging and other types of graffiti. Most graffiti is unfortunately more of the former, and destroys the aesthetics of property, rather than enhancing it.
 
Yogi DMT
 
Reply Wed 13 May, 2009 09:27 pm
@hue-man,
I agree with both of the above. Graffiti can very well be art, it depends on the motive. Sound graffiti can be very creative, some can be meaningless and useless junk.
 
Bones-O
 
Reply Thu 14 May, 2009 04:05 am
@Theaetetus,
Theaetetus wrote:
If anyone wants to see a couple of recent films that are great examples of art, I highly recommend both Synecdoche, New York and Revolutionary Road. The former is another excellent Charlie Kaufmann film (Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Adaptation)--which you can read my review here in the Television subforum--and Revolutionary Road is from another excellent movie by director Sam Mendes (American Beauty, Road to Perdition).

Agreed on both fronts. Synecdoche expecially: an original, expressive, thought-provoking film. Revolutionary Road is based on a work of art, and was produced by someone I consider a dramatic artist: Winslet. Mendes' history is in the theatre, but I've never seen any of his work there. Based on his films, I struggle to see his artistic merit. I think RR is his best film to date, but the vision, I think, is down to the novelist and the actors. Sometimes film can be a work of art in spite of the director. I'm thinking here of Blade Runner: Scott's visuals have artistic merit and provide the perfect package for the more high-minded elements of the film, but what makes Blade Runner art comes from the screenplay. Fight Club is another example of this, imo.

I think the question is a little misleading, perhaps. If we say: "Film is art", then Deuce Bigalow is art, Grease 2 is art, Rancid Aluminium is art. It seems to me that this underdefines art, since these films aren't expressions of anything: they are business ventures. If we say "Film isn't art" then Eraserhead isn't art, Last Year in Marienbad isn't art, Synecdoche New York isn't art, and it seems art is over-defined. The only question that makes sense to me is: Is this film art? For all of the above, the answer is clear to me, but it still can be difficult on a film-by-film basis.
 
Sympathypains
 
Reply Thu 14 May, 2009 11:06 am
@hue-man,
I would say it's art, but to what degree.

Some have a high artistic value others very low, for reasons already mentioned.
 
Philosopher Jay
 
Reply Tue 11 Aug, 2009 08:09 pm
@Bones-O,
I do not think there is any question but that film qualifies as an art form.

Because ifilms are almost always made by a group of people certainly does not disqualify them as art works. Many great paintings of the Renaissance were made in workshops by apprentices. Who would not consider the Pyramids, made by tens of thousands of Egyptian as works of art? Ballets and operas are always collaborative efforts. Are they to be disqualified as art and called something else?

Likewise the fact that films are most often made with a profit motive in mind does not disqualify them as being works of art. Throughout history, most painters and sculptors have worked on commission and produced their works for money. Salvador Dali and Andy Warhol were particularly open about their willingness to do art for money.

Lastly, the fact that movies are often boring and unimaginative cannot disqualify them. How many songs sound like uninspired bad copies of better original hits. Does this make music not an art?

I am surprised that this is raised as an issue. In the early 1900's, there was a debate about whether film was an art or a novelty. I think it was generally universally recognized by the middle of the century that film was not only an art form, but the premier art form of the 20th century.

I have spent the last few days watching some early Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers movies, as well as Popeye cartoons, from the 1930's. They amazed me as much as anything I have ever seen on a museum wall.






Bones-O!;62986 wrote:
Agreed on both fronts. Synecdoche expecially: an original, expressive, thought-provoking film. Revolutionary Road is based on a work of art, and was produced by someone I consider a dramatic artist: Winslet. Mendes' history is in the theatre, but I've never seen any of his work there. Based on his films, I struggle to see his artistic merit. I think RR is his best film to date, but the vision, I think, is down to the novelist and the actors. Sometimes film can be a work of art in spite of the director. I'm thinking here of Blade Runner: Scott's visuals have artistic merit and provide the perfect package for the more high-minded elements of the film, but what makes Blade Runner art comes from the screenplay. Fight Club is another example of this, imo.

I think the question is a little misleading, perhaps. If we say: "Film is art", then Deuce Bigalow is art, Grease 2 is art, Rancid Aluminium is art. It seems to me that this underdefines art, since these films aren't expressions of anything: they are business ventures. If we say "Film isn't art" then Eraserhead isn't art, Last Year in Marienbad isn't art, Synecdoche New York isn't art, and it seems art is over-defined. The only question that makes sense to me is: Is this film art? For all of the above, the answer is clear to me, but it still can be difficult on a film-by-film basis.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Thu 26 Nov, 2009 01:37 am
@hue-man,
I agree. Film is the premier art of the 20th century. It offers us drama, music, text, still photography (seldom used, I admit), dance, special effects that rival the imagination, the documentation of reality.

I think our notion of history will change as more and more of history is recorded and re-watched rather than merely read about. There's something about video with sound.
 
Jebediah
 
Reply Mon 7 Dec, 2009 03:04 am
@Reconstructo,
With most artwork there's a part of it that pleases the senses. Sometimes that deludes people into thinking the message is "deeper" than it is. You could say that this is what art is. That it provokes questions rather than provides answers. That would explain why one person's art is another person's "how cliche, only a high school student would think this was deep :rolleyes:".

Most people don't find die hard to be provoking, more entertaining (which is a higher compliment in my mind). Some might.
 
 

 
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