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Old October 15 2012, 11:58 PM   #41
J.T.B.'s Avatar
Re: Interesting blog on younger people not connecting with older movie

Everything about film has changed in the last decades. Acting styles especially. That's why we say that some older films are unintentionally funny when they were taken very seriously back then. Just compare TOS acting to TOS movie acting to TNG acting to Abramstrek acting. There you have a well documented proof for the change in acting styles over several decades in various formats.

Blaming it on the audience, telling them "you are unsophisticated" (a.k.a. "you are a dumb fuck if you don't appreciate it"), blatantly ignores the fact that we simply live in a different generation of art.
I disagree. The point of the article was that many filmmakers throughout time have made complex and you might say "sophisticated" choices to accomplish their artistic goals. The goal of "sophisticated" viewing should be to try to understand and evaluate the messages the authors of the film intended to convey and to understand why they made the choices that they made. Not making an effort to engage the film on its own level -- indeed looking down one's nose at aspects which seem dated -- is one way to view it, but a superficial use of material which could be much more rewarding. "Unsophisticated" seems a pretty good word for that kind of viewing.

The further you go back in time the more difficult what me might call "literate viewing" becomes. Not only do you need to be familiar with the issues and references of the time depicted, but also with the techniques, conventions and vernacular of filmmaking at the time, technical limitations, the politics and business of movie making and on and on. Not being "literate" about it is nothing to be ashamed of, most people aren't, I'm usually not. But that doesn't mean that it's not worthwhile to try to engage something outside your contemporo-cultural comfort zone. The author was not calling anyone a "dumb fuck" and all he was "blaming" them for was not making an attempt to look past a film's surface and engage it on a more substantive level. That would be the more "sophisticated" way to view it.

It's not the fault of the audience at all. Popular culture simply does date, because it is product. People who are defensive on the part of popular culture proclaim it as somehow equal to or better than art of real nuance and ambition, and then get bent out of shape when fashion moves on to the next thing.

Well, guess what - people only liked the thing to begin with because it so exemplified the fashions and superficial concerns/attractions of that moment.

Even people who want to own a 1964 1/2 Mustang like the one in Goldfinger wouldn't drive it every day - it was not designed as "timeless transportation" if such a thing were possible; it was a product appropriate to its moment.

Successful product is not the same thing as valuable art.

People laugh at old James Bond movies because the producers didn't try - or didn't try hard enough - to make them really good. So, they aren't truly enduring.

End of story.
I disagree with that completely. The implication is that there is some objective standard of what is "popular culture," what is "art," what is "really good" and what is "enduring." There is no such thing. If movies can only be evaluated as art if they are "truly enduring," then no movie is art because there will never be universal agreement on whether they endure or not. And it's not a question of trying hard enough: There has never been nor will ever be a filmmaker who can predict how future tastes and fashions will affect the perception of their work.

Well said. I only have one thing to add to that, and it's the fact that, there are certain times when period dramas made in the present can often look the part, but don't always hit the mark in terms of how they feel, even though many productions try their damnedest to be accurate, and I think that's due to the perceptions we have now vs how things really were, and we can't fully encapsulate how it really was due to not being part of the era that's been recreated. I don't think we can ever be truly accurate in that respect. Hope I'm making sense on that.
Yeah it's pretty much impossible to be completely accurate and faithful to the time. Too much detail and realism could disorient viewers and make them unable to relate; not enough detail and "feel" and the viewers won't buy it. It's hard to do well.

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