SCREEN-L Archives

October 2001, Week 2


Options: Use Monospaced Font
Show Text Part by Default
Condense Mail Headers

Message: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Topic: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]
Author: [<< First] [< Prev] [Next >] [Last >>]

Print Reply
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 8 Oct 2001 10:26:58 -0400
text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
text/plain (47 lines)
most screen-L'ers tend, i think, to use the list for helpful
info . . . a few of us, though, remain incorrigibly attracted
to issues which the list can help us think about -- think
about out loud as it were . . . vinzenz hediger's recent
comments on oliver stone provide an occasion for such
thinking, so here's a question for those incorrigible few:

speaking of stone's films, vinzenz says:

As for cinematic and narrative style: Don't be fooled
by the montage. These are very conventional films.

now i have no brief for stone, whose films i don't know
well . . . but i find the idea that  a film can BE conventional,
despite "apparently" unconventional montage, very
striking . . . to the extent that montage is an essential part
of the medium  of cinema, and to the extent that the way
the medium us used can't help but inflect the message in
crucial ways, does it make sense to say that a film is
conventional despite it's radical use of montage??

of course one could argue that stone's films all  reveal
a conventional mind, or have a conventional narrative
structure, or betray a very conventional politics . . . but
that is not the same as saying that they are conventional
films . . .  on some levels POTEMKIN is an utterly conventional
expression of conventional revolutionary agit-prop ideas, but
i suspect that no one would want to call it a conventional
film on that score

so, cutting to the chase:

     1.  can a film be "conventional" despite its       unconventional
     use of the medium?

     2  if so, what are the DETERMINING characteristics in a film,
     those  decisive enough to lead one to call it "truly" unconventional
     or revolutionary or radical or whatever other term of praise
     one wants to use?


Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: