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October 1994


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Curtis Wilcox <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Mon, 24 Oct 1994 02:51:26 -0400
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>> Is an extensive liberal arts education--knowledge of literature or even
>> history--a prerequisite for great filmmaking? Besides, some of the really
>> early greats didn't have an extensive knowledge of film history b/c there
>> wasn't much to have.
>Certainly a knowledge of literature is necessary, along with other
>disciplines. Knowing about good literature translates into intelligent
>scripts that have good character development and (gasp!) plot.
Bullshit. Plenty of great literature has been written by people with no real
knowledge of literature so it is certainly the case for filmmaking as well. I
would submit that a wonderful film could be made by someone who had never
even seen a film or video but learned to use equipment by experimentation.
They could be illiterate, doesn't matter. All that matters is that either
they are an excellent storyteller or a gift for visual art that they manage
to express in a filmic medium. Much is made by some of "folk art" and the art
of the insane. A film could be made which was either one of these things,
they only obstacle is the technical difficulty of using film equipment as
opposed to, say, a pencil or piece of clay.
about the history and techniques of photography gives one the
technical information to create good visuals. Learning about music --
all kinds of music and the theory behind it -- gives the filmmaker a
basic understanding of using music to enhance or emotions or themes in a
given situation. A good, solid background in general history gives the
filmmaker the ability to comment on contemporary society. Theater
knowledge gives you information on props, sets, and working with actors.>>
The same goes for all this other stuff. Sure it can help some make a better
movie and it can enrich a person's life (Hooked on Humaities worked for me!)
but any or all of these things are neither necessary nor sufficient for the
making on an excellent film.
This is the kind of talk that scares people out of TRYING things.
<< many of the comments I'm seeing [about Pulp Fiction] are based on recent
American pop culture and a film, for me at least, has to have a little more
depth than that to get my adrenaline going.>>
Do complex and original relationships between characters do it for you? How
about the effective use of non-linear narrative? Or playing with genre
conventions? If any of these things interest you (and you don't faint at the
sight of fake blood) then you should see Pulp Fiction.