Some thoughts on the cinema

Some thoughts on the cinema

I Think Eisenstein was a really interesting film maker, he made a film into a peice of Opera, the shots in the countryside with huge skies and tiny people, the way he created fast pace and action with his editing style. His vision that film making is a form of poetry where every shot is a phrase and every sequence is a stanza is so interesting. His use of juxtaposition is also really interesting.

I am a great appreciator of the Soviet film makers and another of those I find interesting is Dennis Arkadievich Kaufman (Dziga Vertov = spinning top) because of his recration of life with no commentary, just creating parrallels between the socialist/communist state waking up and that of people waking up.

I’ve watched many of the Hong Kong films and I derive deep pleasure from watching those films, of watching those martial artists and how skilled they are. I particularly enjoy how they portray a different culture and set of values from those we usually see. When you watch Hidden Tiger, crouching dragon it’s not actually one of the most interesting. “Iron Monkey” and “Once upon a time in China are two films which you should go and see.

I should watch more of the Japanese films but so far most of the film watching I’ve done is from tapes I was borrowing from a friend. I have two akira Kurosawa films which I should take the time to watch to see his style and story creation but when I first started watching them a while ago I found them very heavy to watch.

I’m going off on this topic and can speak of it for hrs because it’s the creation of a world in which we will never live. There is a magic about films which people will feel whilst others will be left bored. It’s for this reason that when I think of documentary and Film I always believe that working in television and understanding the medium is not about watching all the crap poured out by the terrestrial channels but rather taking the time to explore the theories behind film making and understanding the effect which they have.

In one particular period of around 9 months I went to see around 90-100 films and what I came out with was a profound boredom with a certain genre and knew the plotline so well I knew who was going to do when and where so that rather than going to the cinema to watch a film I was going there to see how the genre has various possibilites. Ever since I lived in England I’ve almost stopped watching television or going to the cinema because I realised that for me there is nothing particularly new about the story.

When I go to see a movie I don’t care so much about the enjoyment of the film (although it’s a bonus) as the way in which the story is told, how various instances are put together to make the story really interesting and entertaining. Films have to be a reflection of social interaction as much as anything else. Films require for the viewer to suspend his belief and be transported into a world which has never and never will exist. Read Tolkien and you’ll see the world he has created for his reader. It is this particular world which I love so much and the reason for which I enjoy fantasy, because of the ability to visualise all the elements.

I read books and watch a film at the same time, the reading is subconscious and the text fades into a mental visualisation of the book and that’s part of the reason for which I find story tellers must engage the reader into the book. I’m currently reading “L’imaginaire” by Jean Paul Sartre and a few years ago I found that it was too heavy for me to finish and I left it unread. Recently I have been reading the book and finding it deeply interesting.

As all of us work with visual motives and in some forms create content and art for others to look at it is important that when watching a film or looking at art pieces we take the time to understand what story is being told, what emotion you are meant to feel and more. It is something so personal that I do not believe it can be assessed so much as assimilated.

In not liking QT’s film you must see whether it is based on emotions or whether it is based on prejudice, stereotype, what you have seen before etc. Films are tiny moments in time which should bring you something deeper than simply sitting in a cinema chair eating chips and drinking a coke. It should be about you being transported into an other world.

I would not refer to it as escapism although some may say that is what it is because escapism would imply that everyone who watches a film feels unhappy with their surroundings which is probably only true in the same way that you’d prefer to be in bed than awake on a cold winter morning. The cinema is not an escape from reality so much as an enhancment of the world within which we live. A perfect example of this is the Imax principle whereby we are submerged within reality but removed by at least one degree.

In summary enjoying or not enjoying a film is something personal. The principles behind a film and what makes it an interesting film is understanding what technology was used, who the audience were, the aim of the film and more. The American film industry takes too much time putting films void of any interest onto the screen rather than investing time in properly thought out films. In critiquing Killing Bob your comment could be taken more as a criticism of the current state of the movie industry as we know it today and with that point I agree with you.

Richard Azia

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