BleuPanda wrote: luney6 wrote:
BleuPanda wrote:59. The New World
That last category is the most important, but it also relies on the strength of the other 3. What I think the typical 'Oscar Bait' films do is put their emphasis almost entirely on the narrative. The problem is, there are so many films that put a lot of emphasis on all fronts; why settle for a film that puts in less effort? Tackling heavy topics can actually hurt a film, as it can read as insincere; is the director seriously engaged with, say, the treatment of mental health, or was their decision to tackle the subject impacted by the belief more people would take interest due to the subject matter? I guess, much like my comment on Bowling for Columbine, these films make me engage more with the director's purpose than the message of their work.
The typical Oscar bait films tend to have an excessively banal, oft politically correct, and generally bad narratives.
Also, is it a good idea to critique each section of the film separately, when in art, the factor most important is how it all coheres? After all, all of the factors listed tend to be used in service to the narrative, right? Take for example My Dinner with Andre, or the films of Ingmar Bergman, which are not great works of cinematography, but derive their greatness from exceptional screenplays.
I think it's less about critiquing each of those 4 elements separately as much as exploring how they tie into and influence each other. I haven't seen My Dinner With Andre, but I find most of Bergman's work do have exceptional cinematography (especially Persona), and as much as they have good screenplays, they also find really striking imagery (which I would categorize under style). For example, Wild Strawberries takes breaks from the immediate narrative to give us a better view of the countryside or explore Borg's current thoughts. When I see most Bergman films, I am convinced he considered every shot individually; the framing of each shot adds something to the narrative moment it represents. Meanwhile, with films like Revolutionary Road, it feels like everything exists purely to move the plot along; there's never a moment where I want to break down the details, analyze why the director chose a certain angle. I can accept these shots were chosen simply because they worked to get the point across; but all the best films get the point across and
do more. For me, this is what separates a 7/10 film (i.e., Revolutionary Road) from, say, anything in this top 10.
True, true. Persona does have some fantastic cinematography, but then again, without the exceptional screenplay, it wouldn't be as great as it is. Then, talking about films like Wild Strawberries or Shame, which have good camera work, and like you said, the shots are well plotted to enhance the narrative. And yet, in the end the films are rely heavily on their screenplay to reach the amount of depth they do. Compared to the screenplay, the camera work has a relatively minor role in adding to the merit of the films. And finally, you have films like Autumn Sonata, and Scenes from a marriage, where, while not bad, the cinematography is disposable in terms of what it adds to the narrative. Yet they are some of his greatest films, and some of the greatest films, period. I also recall a quote from an interview (of James Berardinelli on Cosmoetica), which both critics taking part generally agreed with; "Ingmar Bergman: the best published writer of the 20th Century" . And apart from Bergman, even most Woody Allen films, most Nuri BIlge Ceylan films, or films like La Jetee derive much of their quality from their respective screenplays.
And further still, aren't the cinematography, the acting, the soundtrack, and all other said techniques, in their finality, used as techniques to weave, or enhance, the narrative? After all, films like those of Terrance Mallick and of Steve McQueen, or even say, Koyaanisqatsi, demonstrate this. Hence, focussing on the narrative is a good thing, and thus, I argue, that the problem with a typical Oscar bait film is lack of a good, original, plausible narrative. I think that maybe it's better to phrase such films as primarily plot driven, as opposed to being character/narrative driven as most great films (not all) are.
Also, another wonderment; why should animation be considered a part of cinema? After all, don't shouldn't wouldn't it be more apt to classify them as two separate art mediums? After all, they both have distinctly different strengths and weaknesses. It seems like comparing photography with painting; a great photograph would likely use a distinctly different techniques from a great painting. And, thus, a great photographer (or a film-maker) shouldn't be considered a very useful commenter on a great painter's works (or an animator), and vice versa.
"God grant me the serenity to accept things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."