From: owen (email suppressed)
Date: Fri Sep 22 2006 - 11:30:38 PDT
I was too depressed by the film to be outraged.
On Sep 22, 2006, at 1:53 PM, Jeff Kreines wrote:
> I watched the first two hours of the Ric Burns ANDY WARHOL
> documentary program on PBS the other night. I wasn't expecting
> much -- just the usual PBS-bland interviews + stock footage +
> actors reading letters melange. And that's what it was. There was
> a little interesting early history, sure. But that's not what I'm
> writing about.
> The program professes to discuss Warhol's importance as a visual
> artist and filmmaker. It shows him to be a very hard worker. And
> you see him setting up his Bolex and shooting what some (including
> Callie Angell's recent book) refer to as the SCREEN TESTS (though
> someone in Mr. Burns' program says that's not what they are called).
> Anyway, these films were shot by Mr. Warhol, and framed by him.
> They were shot in standard 16mm, and the aspect ratio is 4:3 --
> just like standard NTSC TV. However, although almost all of the
> original footage used in Mr. Burns' program is 4:3, Mr. Burns chose
> to shoot in HDTV, at a 16:9 aspect ratio. Nothing wrong with that
> -- as the image quality of all material old and new will be better
> than in standard def.
> However, Mr. Burns decided that he was a more important visual
> artist than Mr. Warhol. He chose to crop all of Mr. Warhol's
> films to fit edge-to-edge in his chosen aspect ratio -- cutting of
> a significant amount of the top and/or bottom of the original
> frames. He could have chosen to do what any seriously minded
> archivist would do -- "pillarbox" the image so that it is shown in
> its entirety with black bars on the sides. That would have
> preserved the integrity of the frame.
> A couple of recent films dealing with the same issue -- lots of
> 1960's footage shot 4:3 -- chose simply to make that the aspect
> ratio of the entire film, whether or not it was currently trendy.
> That's another acceptable solution.
> I wonder if any museums would choose to lend out paintings to an
> institution that insisted on hanging the paintings behind fixed cut-
> outs in a wall, cropping the image? Could one imagine such a
> museum existing? Of course not. But this is essentially what
> happened in Mr. Burns' TV program.
> I was a little too sickened by part one to watch part two, though I
> did zip through some of it and saw that the films were again
> reformatted to fit Mr. Burn's canvas. (I was, however, amused by
> the fact that an interview subject was clearly asked to discuss the
> film BLOW JOB without mentioning the film's title. Ah, PBS -- it
> turns everyone into self-censoring wimps.) The least PBS could
> have done was run a disclaimer pointing out that the excerpts from
> films shown in this show are reformatted by the producer of the
> program, and do not reflect the original intent of the artist who
> this TV show is about.
> Isn't anyone else outraged by this?
> Jeff Kreines
> Coosada, Alabama
> For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.
For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.