Wednesday, April 6, 2011

F is for ....Film

Yes, film. The other great love of my life. In my opinion, film is in fact the greatest art form because to make a film, you must draw from every other art form. Visual art, photography, music, acting, writing, sculpture and more are all used to make a film. And these days, you can add science in there too, with the number of computers involved with every production.

But you can throw as many effects and flashy edits as you want at a film, and without a good story and engaging characters, it's going to fall flat. It comes back to the writing every time. A film with a good script, made for under a million dollars can often be more satisfying and engaging than a multi-million dollar blockbuster which disguises its plot holes and one dimensional characters with flash and effects.

I guess that's why I work in arthouse. Effects movies don't interest me. I can't even think when I last went to the multiplex to see one. I think it may have been two years ago when I was still reviewing on TV. I don't feel like I've missed out on anything.

It's an endless frustration to me that films get made before the scripts are ready. I watch these things and can see so much potential in them, but they get raced into production before that extra draft or three have been done, and the end product just doesn't work. Characters are not developed enough, so you question their actions and reactions. Or plot threads are left hanging after their purpose is spent. Supporting characters show up without motivation and disappear as soon as they're function is over, often without explanation.

All these problems could be easily fixed with a little more drafting. And the finished product would be that much more satisfying. So, film makers. The script is the most important thing. Forget the CGI for a minute, and give us some real, flawed characters we an care about. Give us a plot that makes sense. Then you can go blow some shit up....


  1. So true. With big budget films they so often spend all their time selling us on the concept and don't put the same kind of thought into developing the story. Don't even get me started on sequels!

  2. Did you ever see the documentary about Terry Gilliam trying to make his film about Don Quixote? Amazing what goes on in the movies industry...

    What's your favorite film, Kate? or - films?

  3. I completely agree. Unfortunately big budgets have too much money to shove special effects in them as well as getting the big name actors that they sometimes forget that the script is an equally important aspect of the film.

  4. I'm easily sucked in my eye candy. I like well-coreographed fights and pretty explosions and if there's enough tension, I never even question the character's motives...until the movie is over.

    But those are the films I only ever watch once. The movies I own and watch again and again are like those you're talking about. They've got the staying power. Except Iron Man. And Batman. I'm a sucker for a good looking actor in vinyl ;-)

  5. My favorite movie? Wow... Now there's a question. I don't know that I have an all time favorite, to be honest. I see probably 4 per week on average, often more, so it's difficult to pick.

    Certainly, ones I go back to time and again are The Sweet Hereafter, Lawn Dogs, Rumble Fish, Sunset Boulevard & Wings of Desire. Plus, I'm a huge fan of docos. I own all Errol Morris's films. I did my thesis on pre-war Soviet Cinema so have an intimate knowledge of films by Dovzhenko, Eisenstein, Pudovkin and others in that ilk. I am also a huge fan of the New German Cinema, especially Fassbinder's work.

    I could write a whole blog post on this topic, in fact.... Maybe I will...

  6. I wish more people thought that way! I'm stopping by from the "A to Z" challenge and I look forward to reading more from you.

  7. I so agree...
    Nice to meet you