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January 1995, Week 3


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 18 Jan 1995 15:11:51 CST
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
Corey Creekmur writes:
"My understanding is that Debord's films are unavailable, at his
request, to anyone in any format.  Perhaps this will change, unfortunately,
with his death; this was the case with Jack Smith's and Andy Warhol's
films, which were withheld from distribution by the filmmakers themselves
until their deaths; I've wondered if the films of the late Gregory
Markopoulous -- which he withdrew from American audiences -- might finally
again see the light of day/the screen.  This is an interesting question of
course, for debate: should we be able to see the work of a filmmaker even
if that filmmaker doesn't want us to?  Should we be so eager to disrespect
the filmmaker's wishes after their deaths?"
That is indeed an interesting question, worthy of consideration in an ethics
class.  There are, of course, analogous cases in the other arts--painters
who wanted their work destroyed, Kafka asking Max Brod to burn his work, etc.
Are we allowed to say that the artist is wrong?  The world, I think, would
be a (culturally) poorer place without Kafka's work.  Does time mitigate an
's wishes?  Would we suppress a film by Griffith that he did not want seen
(though such a case is hard to imagine).
What about artists whose work should *not* have been released--or perhaps
it's better to say, add little to our understand of their oeuvre, eg. the
last Hemingway novel released about ten years ago?
And then there are those artists who deliberately withhold their work for
market or other considerations--Hitchcock's five films that were held until
well after his death (including REAR WINDOW and VERTIGO).
It is worth thinking about.
--Don Larsson, Mankato State U., MN