Re: why we shoot film/contrast ratios and sensitivity

From: Jon Jost (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Mar 05 2006 - 15:30:14 PST

This discussion, which it is hard for me to believe rages on after all these
years, is an irrational one, kind of like talking religion. The irony of
FRAMEWORKS is that it purports to be about "avant garde" cinema, and is
mostly conducted by hard-core conservatives, not only in their resistance to
technical change, but - from my not very frequent exposure to so-called
"avant-garde" cinema shown at festivals, etc. - also aesthetically. Most of
what passes for "avant-garde" in the academies, and in the festivals, is
anything but. Rather for the most part it is stale re-runs of things done
far better 30 or 50 or even 100 years ago.

Mitsu is correct in ascribing most of this "feel it, smell it" etc. attitude
to "nostalgia". Nostalgia is the trump card of conservatives of all kinds.
Taken to extremes, as it is in general on this board, it converts into
something else - fetishism. This has nothing to do with art, aesthetics,
"avant-garde" but rather a kind of pathological attachment which becomes
obsessive, closed-minded, and most often is terribly destructive of
creativity. Not that I would expect any consent for this from here.

from Jon Jost

>From: Mitsu Hadeishi <email suppressed>
>Reply-To: Experimental Film Discussion List <email suppressed>
>To: email suppressed
>Subject: Re: why we shoot film/contrast ratios and sensitivity
>Date: Sun, 5 Mar 2006 16:50:04 -0500
>On Sunday 05 March 2006 15:57, Freya wrote:
> > But those aren't the only reasons that people like
> > film! They might even be some of the least important
> > reasons why people like film. Dynamic range is great
> > of course, resolution is I'm sure, not as big of a
> > deal as so many people seem to make out. I think it is
> > mostly die hard video fans that are obssessed with
> > resolution.
>We have had a whole slew of posts from people who say their reason for
>film has to do with the way it looks: the way it looks is dictated by its
>responsiveness to light (which is essentially sensitivity and dynamic
>because everything else can be simulated with postprocessing) and
>Beyond this, some people are making environmental arguments (which I think
>are a wash when it comes to film vs. video, frankly), and others have
>mentioned simply liking the "smell" of film, etc. --- obviously one cannot
>argue with something like that, but it's the sort of nostalgia which I
>personally think has more to do with habit and conditioning than it has to
>with art. I mean, my father is an artist and I remember growing up with
>smell of paint thinner everywhere --- so even today I feel nostalgic when I
>smell paint thinner --- but I recognize this is mere nostalgia and has very
>little to do with the substance of either my father's art or with much of
>anything else of enduring value to the human race.
> > but film *is* about the art and not the technology,
> > that is the thing!
>I really don't know how to respond to this: if one talks about the
>"experimental" part of "experimental film" then yes, that's about the art.
>If we're obsessing about the "film" part of it, then that's by definition
> >I'm don't see what the problem is.
>Neither do I.
> > People don't neccesarily just watch films for a really
> > good signal to noise ratio, or listen to music for the
> > same reason (tho sometimes I wonder).
>The reason we have an aesthetic preference for film over, say, watching TV,
>precisely because of these and other factors. I am just pointing out that
>as a medium is getting very close to and in some ways surpassing already
>of at least 16mm film formats in many of the purely aesthetic areas.
>you happen to have simply an aversion to all things digital simply because
>they are digital --- which I think is, again, a symptom of obsession with
>technique rather than the art.
> > Well yeah but you make it sounds like video is what is
> > available to them, when film is also available and
> > people will do things with what is available to them,
> > so it isn't really a problem.
>I have never said anything of the sort --- my whole point is that film and
>video and HD and so forth are all viable formats, and what's interesting
>about experimental film is already inspiring young artists to make things,
>and a lot of what they're making is video or HD, and I think that's
>I mean, my father teaches art and he does still believe it is important to
>teach drawing and so forth --- the fundamentals, even though his work is
>abstract, etc. But he would never suggest that only one medium is valid
>making art for him --- he has worked in many media. Okay, so some people
>this list are wedded to just the one medium of film --- like I said,
>makes their choices. But in the future, people will continue to make great
>creative and interesting work, and it might be in a digital format, and
>isn't going to be a tragedy. It's already happening and it's fine. That's
>my only point --- experimental film is not dead and it won't die completely
>even if the 16mm format entirely disappears.
>For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.