Sunday, January 27, 2008

What is (film) art?

"Anonymous" made a good point in the comments of my post on making film art on an extremely low budget, and that point is: Don't you have to define what art is in order to determine if it can be made on such a budget?

I was, I admit, intentionally vague about that when I posted that question because I wanted to see how others defined it.

My sense is that low-budget films are given some leeway. For example, one commenter mentioned Rodriguez's El Mariachi. Were that film made on a bigger budget, it might be consider a rollicking good time, but I don't think it would be considered art. In other words, it has "indie cred" that somehow earns it a status above what I think the film itself achieves.

I may be overstating that, and I am trying to be a bit provocative. But still -- I'd like to know just what my readers think. How would you define film art? What makes a film a piece of art?


Blogger c anderson said...

In my opinion, art can be anything that has aesthetic beauty and understanding of the 'rules' of art (conscious composition, thoughtful balance of color, appropriate contrast). It doesn't mean that those rules must be adhered to, but they must be understood. I don't think video has yet achieved the ability to produce aesthetic beauty. I know a lot of people will disagree with me. Surprisingly, even David Lynch has moved to DV in contradiction to his comments on the 'magic of film' in prior interviews. 24p HD makes a strong effort, but it still lacks the mystery that film brings along with it. I guess I'm going on a bit of a tangent here, but when I think about film making and artistic quality, I always seem to come back to video vs. film. Most of us can't use film for financial reasons, but what true film maker wouldn't prefer to use film if he had the choice?

And if you say "George Lucas," then you just don't get it...

3/01/2008 10:30 AM  
Blogger Chris Hansen said...

Well, I don't disagree that film is still more aesthetically pleasing than video, certainly more than 60i video. But I think that 24p HD video (or, even better, 2K or 4K video shot at 24p) is coming quite close to achieving that look.

And, if you're using film lenses with a camera like that, you can come awfully close to replicating that look, especially with the shallow depth of field those lenses allow.

I'm dealing with all of this right now in prep for my new film, and believe me, it's not easy to achieve the look you want with video, but it is possible.

And Lucas? Ugh -- don't get me started...

3/01/2008 10:43 AM  

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