Re: [Frameworks] weird!

From: Fred Camper (email suppressed)
Date: Sun Jun 06 2010 - 10:43:11 PDT

Quoting Adam Hyman <email suppressed>:

> My guess is that it is easy to send to the whole list; it requires conscious
> effort to send to only one person (saving that personıs email, etc), so Iım
> thinking he intended it just for you, and you should have checked with him
> before forwarding to the whole list.
> That said, it is a useful contribution from Fred....

Thanks, Adam.

I did intend the post Jason forwarded for the whole list, but by the
time I realized I had sent it only to Jason, I was thinking I would
not post it, or would post something different. And Adam is right that
on lists such as these, etiquette is that one never forwards anything
to the list on one's own, just as one should not reveal private
discussions ("four people have written me off list in support," that
sort of thing).

I *do* think there are excellent and original younger makers who are
not on the Film Comment list, and as I'm writing about the upcoming
Onion City festival soon, in which I will likely mention more than one
of them, I'll post a link to that piece when it appears.

It is a very old story in the arts that it often takes a while for
excellent work to get widely acknowledged. Thus it is usually the case
that older work is more widely known.

I stand by my position that one should make aesthetic arguments for
the work one cares about, not political ones, and that aesthetic
arguments almost always seem absent from discussions such as this one.
"Inclusiveness" for the sake of "inclusiveness" could be valued if
what one wants is "inclusiveness," but it also could be that the very
best Tasmanian avant-garde film is derivative of Brakhage in an
uninteresting way, while one of Brakhage's best students is now making
genuinely original work that owes little debt to his teacher. Not
being a sociologist, for me "inclusiveness" is of limited interest in
itself; what *can* be interesting is the way different aesthetics
*sometimes* emerge from very different makers.

There's also an interesting observation of Sitney's from years ago:
that while his and my generation had a number of advocates for
avant-garde film among writers, the younger generation(s) seem to have
fewer such advocates. This may not be exactly what Sitney said, but
the view as I've stated it is one I believe to be true. This isn't to
say that only a critic can make a reputation. Sometimes the advocacy
of other filmmakers has been the main beginning thrust. This is
something for the unrecognized to consider.

Some other things for the unrecognized to consider: How well do you
know the work of those "older" filmmakers who you are griping about?
There's a long tradition in the arts of great artists having really
studied and learned the work of "masters," before going on and doing
something different. Brakhage once told me that once he realized, at
18, that what he most wanted to do was make films, the first thing he
did was read every piece of writing by Eisenstein that he could find.
This does not sound like something most young filmmakers I have
encountered would have done! He later bought a print of "Potemkin,"
and looked at it again and again. And in the films of his first
decade, one can absolutely see the influence of Eisensteinian montage,
along with many other influences from cinema, poetry, and music. And
by the time of "The Riddle of Lumen," 20 years after he began, little
trace of Eisensteinian montage remains. Markopoulos, Anger, Gehr,
Jacobs, Sonbert, and so many others, had a deep knowledge of and deep
admiration for many areas of film history.

Ask yourself, not, should my films be recognized because I'm a younger
filmmaker who is not yet recognized, but rather, am I making genuinely
original cinema of high quality, work that offers the viewers new and
complex experiences in time? Sorry to say, not every film that gets
made, even if it was worked on hard, is deserving of most viewers'
time. Making superb work, pushing beyond what has been done before,
that is the real struggle.

Fred Camper

FrameWorks mailing list
email suppressed