Film Theory: Masterpieces; Master of Cinematic Vision/Thought

Film Theory: Masterpieces; Master of Cinematic Vision/Thought

“A science which hesitates to forget its founders is lost”–Alfred North Whitehead

“It appears to me that if one wants to make progress in mathematics (or cinema), one should study the masters and not the pupils (Niels Abel).

“What you have inherited from your fathers, acquire it in order to possess it.”

How to epitomize complex ideas and images, without trivializing them, while cutting deep below the surface to their basic and essential assumptions

Exposition of classical cinematic thought that’s critical in tone, comprehensive in scope, and conscientious in attention to detail.

A book that describes thoroughly the essentials of a wide range of classic and modern cinema.

To shed light on the master of cinema, past and present.

History of ideas and images that derive and are made by real-living individuals and minds

They are shaped, bound, and conditioned by the constraints and stimulations of time, place, history, society and culture.

To link the work of each filmmaker to his life-history in both its social and psychological aspects.

The ebb and flow of filmmakers’ careers.

Distinctive audiences and reference groups

Relating films to the distinctive contexts of their respective biography, history, and social structure.

How to broaden and deepen our understandings of their films, while alerting to their tacit assumptions and value commitments.

Examples:

Masterpiece and Genre

Directors who make several masterpieces in the same genre.

Douglas Sirk

Directors who make diverse masterpieces in various genres, like Kubrick, Woody Alle, Scorsese

 

L’Avventura was ahead of its time in theme too–spiritual erosion

originally shown at Cannes to hostile critics, who shouted cut, cut, cut at the screen

The shots were so lengthy, the pacing so slow that viewers assumed that director Antonioni was inept.

The Gospel According to St. Matthews:

A masterpiece of Christian cinema–mysterious, poetic, emotionally powerful

It blends mythology with documentary

Eclectic techniques that combine nonprofessional cast with varied musical score (Giannetti).

The Incredible Shrinking Man (1957), Jack Arnold’s sci fi masterpiece, finest sci fi of 1950s

Baxter: “a fantasy that for intelligence and sophistication has few equals.”