Film Art and Cinematography : Film as art: evaluating

Film as art: evaluating

Hi, everybody!

I have a big question for you. What are general criteria for a good movie? I don't like when someone says that movie is good just because it is ''deep'' or ''has a good story''. Those characteristics are very formal. Furthermore, I can imagine a movie which has all those characteristics and still is very bad. I've read some critics (e.g. Roger Ebert) and I must say that they didn't enthuse me.

I study philosophy and I am very interested in aesthetics (and, of course, philosophy of film), so I took some philosophical books to read. I found some answers in Noel Carrol's book The Philosophy of Motion Picture (and I strongly recommend it to the beginners), but I decided to do a further research. Before that, I would like to hear others. So, feel free to share your opinion on this.

Re: Film as art: evaluating

Sorry, but a good story is pretty darn important. As are good characters, and a strong visual style that complements and enhances the characters and story, and not overshadow or detract from them.

I think the post-MTV age combined with computer effects that can literally show us anything, has created a film climate where the visual takes precedence over plot and character development. Which is fine for commercials and music videos and whatnot. But it doesn't work for a regular movie. Yes, film is visual, and that's why the visual (and audio) aspect is important, but film is also a narrative. It needs to be engaging and have compelling characters that the audience wants to invest their two hours and 11 bucks on. If it doesn't, I don't care how good a film looks, it won't be good.

Though, I had a film professor in college who said when it comes to film, the definition of "good" changes with each generation, and I see some validity to that.Today, what is considered "good" is often times dismissed by the older generations as lacking in something.

Re: Film as art: evaluating

You probably believe that good story is at least a necessary condition for a good movie. Many would agree with you. I also used to. But, what do we really mean by ''good story''? I claim that ''good story'' actually means ''good fabula''. If that so, let me ask you a question. Does every good movie (good according to you) have a good fabula?

Take Nosferatu (1922) for example. It is widely believed that Nosferatu is a great movie, a movie of great importance in the history of cinema. Does Nosferatu have a good fabula? I don't think so. Still, I like that movie and I think it's good.

Re: Film as art: evaluating

I'm unclear how fabula differs from story really, but, Nosferatu, while certainly a visual triumph, at least in the third act, is just that. Story Wise, it didn't do it for me.

It started strong, ended marvelously, but it was muddled in the middle. Nosferatu has some great shots, even some great scenes, but a great movie overall? No, I found it to be overrated. Good cinematography without a good story doesn't equate a good movie.

Re: Film as art: evaluating

One article I really like that attempts to create a criteria for developing a film canon is by Paul Schrader, entitled Canon Fodder, 2006, Film Comment

As for philosophy of film, try these:

As for the Aesthetics of film: