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May 1998, Week 1


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 6 May 1998 20:53:37 -0400
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     >I am likely to resent or be perplexed by praise heaped on a
     >the other hand, I got caught up in a film significantly as I viewed
    > it, if it touched my heart, I'm naturally going to be incredulous
    > some critic or reviewer dismisses the film as fluff or attacks the
    > screenplay as tripe.
    > Or praises some film that I regard as absolute detritus.  But why
    > should I fret about the fact that a film that didn't move me proved
    > highly popular?
these are, i suppose, all reasonable questions, but they are based on the
premise that the PURPOSE of movies [and presumably of art] is simply to
touch our hearts . . . that a movie may hae a point or a point of view,
that it may carry ideological weight, that it may represent or
misrepresent, that it may play a part in constructing a culture and hence,
in the final analysis, play some part in constructing us . . . all of these
possibilities are ignored by this premise as are any notions of skill,
craft, artistic language, form, control that went into the work . . . an
examination of the prosody of donne or the brushstrokes of monet are not in
themselves going to make a poem or painting touch my heart . . . and indeed
we're all aware of works that touch us by their facile pressing of all too
exposed buttons . . .  this view is the one that was discredited as 'the
affective fallacy' by the new critics [themselves admittedly now
discredited but who still have some worthwhile things to say to us]
so to the apparently reasonable question:
     > But why should I fret about the fact that a film that didn't move me
     > proved highly popular?
perhaps the best answer is that we may care about films strongly enough to
feel that pleasure alone is not what we want our films to provide . . . and
that we may object to certain merely 'entertaining' films the same way we
object to certain good tasting foods . . . and surelyu we can all think of
other activities that provide some people with pleasure that we ourselves
would be in principle against
mike frank
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