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December 1995, Week 1


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Mike Frank <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Sun, 3 Dec 1995 17:14:01 -0400
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 Auden Ledahl <[log in to unmask]> writes:
I am studying and trying to
> contact a director who's still alive because I believe the best answers on
> his work will come from him; not someone who's written about him seventeen
> years after his passing. True, most directors do not write their own texts,
        which is quite irrelevant since we're talkin movies here, not
> but whether people want to study the 'auteur', or not, they still must
> recognize that it's the director who must translate the text from a written
> idea to a visual idea. The translation itself must also be recognized because
> it's the director's idea of the writer's idea, and not all people think or
> perceive alike (which becomes a challenge when communicating his idea to a
> cast, film crew, and editors).
        all of which is true but so what
The director's biographical information can be
> an important asset to studying a particular work
   because experience influences perception and interpretation.
this last line of auden;s is the one that matters . . . of course what he's
saying is true, but why does that mean that the director's perceptionsd of
interpretations matter . . . unless of course they get communicated in the
film, in which case we hardly have to ask him about them, do we??
being interested npersons is a very nice thing, and probably more humane than
being interested in movies . . . but if you care about movies what you gotta
do is watch the goddamn movies and see what they're doing . . .
. . . of course one can also do the cultural context of movies, which is to
say movies as an institution, which usually means movies as an index of some
particularly odious political or ideological system that the critic finds
especially repellant and thus wants to sabotage through her/his political
informed critical work  . .  . this is nice stuff, i do it too,   . . . and
its really fascinating . .  . but even there the authority of the director is
of nugatory value, perhaps less relevant than the views of the distributor or
the guy who decides how to market the video version, people who generally are
NOT chased by movie fans for THEIR special views on the film  . .  .
. .  . the director's auhority is IN the film  . . . indeed one can say that
the film is the body of that authority, and that like all texts that have to
be incarnate in some medium, without that body of the film the experitse,
authority, call it what you like, simply does not exist at all
mike frank
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