Prattle & Jaw

Two blogs about a whole lot of nothing

Arty Farty Films

What boxes does a film have to tick in order to be considered a good film? And I'm using the word good here in the way that first year film students use it; not mainstream, unknown actors, foreign, subtitled, stylised etc etc etc.

You see, I love film. I really do. And when I say 'film', I mean 'film'. I do not mean that I love only independent, low budget, foreign, etc, films. I mean from Indiana Jones to The Day the Earth Stood Still (original, please. Although I'm excited to see the Keanu Reeves remake!), to The Squid and the Whale to The Idiots to bloody Three Colours Red blah blah blah.

My favourite directors are the Coen brothers. Some of my favourite films are The Hudsucker Proxy, The Descent, Halloween, Stranger that Fiction, Babette's Feast, Delicatessen, If..., and the list goes on.

What's my point? My point, or rather my question, is what standards does a film have to live up to, in order to be thought of as 'art'? Really. If anyone knows, tell me.

For me, many, many films are art. A few films that are not art, are; Scary Movie films, Alien Vs. Predator, High School Musical films, and White Chicks (which I've actually seen. I was hungover, it wasn't my choice, and it wasn't rented). In fact, I think it's probably easier to list the things that don't make a film art. It's probably safe to say that any film made to primarily make money isn't art, but really, honestly now, just between you and me; aren't most films made to make money? I mean, something's got to pay back the actors/studio/writers/directors/producers/loans/etc etc etc.

Anyway. Take............American Beauty. Amazing film. Poignant, beautifully filmed, acted, and scripted, an alternative storyline, - the list goes on. Does that count as art? I think many would say that it does. It's a gorgeous film. But it made $130,058,047 in the US alone. That's a lot of money. Does the fact that it earnt so much at the cinema take it down a notch or two? I bet it does.

I'm back after a day break. Let's see, what was I saying? Right. Arty farty. I'd just like to what makes a film 'OK to like.' Why must it be frowned upon, or seen as less 'cultural', to love a film that is shown in a multiplex, directed by well-known directors, might appeal to more than the exhange students, and that makes loadsamoney? Isn't it cultural to watch a film that is made today, with the techniques and actors available today? Doesn't that count? Special effects can easily, easily bring a film down, but quite often make it spectacular. Why a film like Spirted Away should be seen as infinitely better than, say, Wall.E, is beyond me. It's Japanese. So what! I know they're both very different, and, of course, highly dependent on their respective cultures, and maybe that's it. Maybe because a film is American, people often dismiss it because, well, it's American. Culture? Yeah right. What a load of balls. Take Aliens, Halloween, Finding Nemo, etc, etc, and tell me they're not cultural. They're full of it! Films such as these are essential for understanding US culture, if not global culture.

Appreciating films for their beauty, their cinematography, their script, their score, the acting, directing and producing applies to all genres. Just because a film is subtitled doesn't automatically make it holier than thou. This is what happens when you think that:

I don't know. I know I could find two films, and compare them, but to be honest, I can't be bothered. I hope I've made some sense in this. But really - if anyone can explain why a blockbuster is less...cultural, or arty, or why an indepedent film should get more cultural credit, then I am all ears. Really I am.

Copyright © 2014, Lara Mulady. All rights reserved.