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  • Writer's pictureVanessa Rocha

Call It An Art

It’s been said before, but filmmaking truly is an art. It might not be “art”, in the traditional sense, where it involves one single person, a subject and some tools, but it is an art nonetheless, and there are many films that can demonstrate that for us. Of course, that doesn’t mean film can’t be used for entertainment either, after all there are also many films that can prove that too. As with all things, art and entertainment, it is a matter of opinion.

For example, an avid Marvel fan would consider The Avengers (2012) as a work of art, whereas an independent film critic would consider it a piece of entertainment. Another example would be in experimental film. A critic would see it as a piece of art, while someone who doesn’t deal in film theory, or art theory for that matter, would see it as a bunch of randomly filmed clips edited together.

This debate about whether film is an art form, or a piece of entertainment will, no doubt, continue for as long as films are being made, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look at the arguments and make an opinion for ourselves.

Why Art Is Called Art

A lot of the time, when we talk about “art” we talk about the high-brow pieces that are hung in the galleries of the elite, or the pieces created by masters like Picasso, or Van Gogh, but a lot of the time, we forget that most art was made for the masses.

Take Shakespeare, for example. The plays he wrote were written for the common people. Most of the time, they were attended by regular folks, who’d stand, instead of being seated, and watch his plays for about two hours. The only ones who’d have the luxury to sit, would be people like the queen, and her court.

Still not convinced? How about taking a look at those precious stained-glass art in churches and cathedrals? They were most certainly not meant for the elite. In fact, stained-glass art was made so that peasants and illiterates could read the stories of the bible, without actually having to read. They could hear mass, or their church services, and use those stained-glass to focus on the stories of the bible.

So, you see? When we say film is an art, it doesn’t matter if it is pure entertainment, eventually, as with all things, and in the eyes of the right people, any film can be called art, even a slapstick, nonsensical title can be an art. It is simply a matter of perception. It is because, film creates new experiences for both the creators and the viewers, and that experience can be valuable for anyone, no matter how rich or poor they are.

Art Is A Business, And So Is Film

Of course, no matter how we define “film”, it is still a business, just the same as traditional art. Novelists, even if their work is good or bad, will sell their novels to publishers, hoping that they get the right readers to buy them. Painters, sculptors, and artists sell their pieces to collectors at high prices. Playwrights and actors will charge admission to their plays to gain their monetary worth in service. Film is no different. By selling their works, filmmakers hope that when they are viewed at the cinema, they’d receive some of the profits that audiences will pay to watch them, and like all artistic industries, the piece itself could lose aspects of the other, trying to achieve one.

What this means is that if a filmmaker is trying to succeed in the business of film, it could lose its art. Similarly, if the filmmaker focuses too much on the art, it will lose the business. That’s why it’s very important for filmmakers to strike a balance, otherwise they could lose the whole point of why they made films in the first place. So, when we look at highly publicised films, especially from Hollywood and their studios, most of the time people see it as “the business”, but what they don’t see is the artistic skills that went into making the film in the first place.

However, that’s not to say that these are the only pieces that we need to pay attention to. In fact, many independent films and film companies also create films that are not only artistic but entertaining as well. As mentioned before, it is a matter of perception. Many will be attracted to the bright lights of Hollywood, and as well, many will look to the more Avant Garde atmosphere created by independent studios, but it is still the same industry.

Film Is A Marriage Between Art And Entertainment

In essence, film is a platform for both artists and entertainers. It is a give and take, not a tug of war. If you want to entertain the masses, look to the entertainers to achieve that. If you want to create art, then look to the artists. Film is not a set of rules, it’s a freestyle form of media, it can be whatever a filmmaker deems it to be.

Even if you’re not artistic, or an entertainer yourself, the business of filmmaking is also a very desirable career path. Just look at the early history of the major film studios. You will see that not one of these founders went into filmmaking for the art of it; they went into it hoping it would make them a “quick buck”, but they did it using artists and entertainers to appeal to the masses. So, for them, film was not entertainment, it wasn’t even art. Film was a business, and that’s why these studios stood the test of time, and why they still stand today.

Look back at your favourite films, it doesn’t matter what it is, think about these questions. What drew me to this film? What did they do to make it so appealing? How did they achieve that? Are there any deep meanings to it? If you can answer these questions, then you’re not just looking at a piece of moving pictures. You’re looking at a piece of art and entertainment. You are looking at a marriage between the two. It’s hard to see it as a whole, but broken down, you’ll find yourself reaching those “eureka” moments that show you, these studios, individuals and teams are not only artists, they’re geniuses in their own rights.

So, the next time you look at a film, no matter how bad or good, you find it, remember that someone out there will look at it too and consider it as a piece of art. It is not because it is good or bad, it is because of the effort, the imagination and the business that went into making it.

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