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June 1995, Week 1


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Gene Stavis <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 31 May 1995 12:28:44 -0700
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In a limited sense I am playing devils advocate but I am also trying to
understand what I see as a regrettable disreguard for a body of contemporary
filmic work.
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You make a fair and interesting point. But, as a teacher in an "art school",
I think the real explanation lies more in territorialism and the fact that
film has only recently been viewed as an art.
Traditionally, "visual arts" has referred to painting, sculpture and the
like. Likewise "performing arts" has referred to "live" performances.
It is both the weakness and the strength of film that it does not fit
comfortably in either of these categories. Film is so special that it has
necessitated a whole new category, often called (in my opinion properly) "the
moving image".
Of course the outdated definitions of "visual" and "performing" arts have
created typical academic turf wars and film has been left out of these
discussions to a large degree. But, never fear, film academics have more than
filled the breach with unreadable texts of their own!
I do not know whether to cheer or grieve that film has been overlooked by the
two camps. But I DO believe that we are in far more danger of taking film TOO
seriously these days rather than too frivolously.
Gene Stavis, School of Visual Arts - NYC
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