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June 2001, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 Jun 2001 12:43:56 -0400
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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>seems to me that he   [or she . . . can't tell and shouldn't
>presume]  is saying that, for audiences that know how
>much "art" is involved in using the long take in filmmaking,
>the experience of a significant technical achievement is
>part of the experience of the film [analogous, i propose, to
>the way we appreciate a tight rope walker more when
>she's walking ten stories up than  five feet up]

I might have stated it more that this type of perception of video and film is encoded as part of our reception of each medium, that a ten-minute take in video is different from one in film partly but not exclusively because of the way our ideas are set up or have been developed.  But I was thinking more of Screen-L readers since you're absolutely right about how little a general, non-interested audience even cares about this.  Most of my non-film friends can't even distinguish between film and video at all.  (Which may sound dim but since I have zero interest in cars I can't distinguish between a Ford and a Chevy and since I'm a humorless teetotaler wines all seem completely identical to me, excepting that color thing.)

I do think general audiences respond to displayed skill or at least the perceived effort invested into an artistic work though this is certainly a vague area and probably not in the same way that many of us Screen-L'ers would (the "Touch of Evil" example is a good one).  In music, for example, this displayed effort is often part of the signification process.  Think of a soul singer's sweat or the bending of a sax player (subject of a Richard Pryor routine) or even the synchronized bowing of an orchestral string section (I've heard it argued that this has no real effect on the resulting sound).  Or the classic response to a painting:  "My child could do that."  (Which I actually heard said in the National Gallery by a parent in front of Barnett Newman's "Stations of the Cross.")  Much of the controversy over "The Blair Witch Project" was based in this same area.

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