The Purpose of this Site
Mission Statement: Film as Art is an academic site designed to encourage its readers to consider the literary qualities in the film artform by offering engaging, accessible articles of individual films that advocate for cinema from a scholarly point of view.
In Depth: Plenty
of film review sites exist on the Internet where people who love
movies take the time to express their opinions. These are good
people, writing as service to any who might stumble upon their
website. At first glance, perhaps that’s exactly the kind
of person that I am, and my motivations and site are similar to
anyone else’s. I believe, however, that I have a bit more
to offer than average Internet film reviewers, particularly to
those who are seriously interested in film as art and literature,
and not necessarily as simply entertainment.
recommend that all who visit my website read the following, so
that you will have a full understanding of why this site exists,
and why I am reviewing films. And why I love them so much.
1. Film is art.
people go to the movies to be entertained. This is necessary and
appropriate. After all, films allow us to put away our own lives
for a couple of hours and embrace the life and story of the people
who we are watching, which is entertainment in its purest form.
I find it sad, however, that the average filmgoer does not think
beyond the idea of films as a way to kill a few hours. Rather,
cinema is an art form just as significant and just as profound
as any painting or song. Art exists to stimulate its audience,
to provoke thought and stir them to consider what a person believes
and why he believes it. Art exists to create a reaction in a person,
and to make its audience into less of a watcher and more of a
participant. Certainly, it must be stimulating to the audience,
and that is where entertainment comes in as a key player. It is
also so much more: Films are pieces of art, and they should be
looked at as art. They should provoke and bush boundaries; they
should make statements and ask questions.
Sadly, there has been,
I believe, a push away in recent cinema (particularly from Hollwood) from creating films that
challenge the viewer. The entertainment elements have been increased,
and artistic expression played down. Film have become products that are marketed. As a result, the expectations of the viewers have been
dumbed down as well. This site, and my articles, will serve as
a charge to bring the artistic aspects of film back into the limelight—to
look at films as no less entertaining, but to also expect them
to provoke thought and challenge the viewer with new ideas and
images. I concure with director Werner Herzog when he said, "Centuries from now our great-great-great-grandchildren will look back at us with
amazement at how we could allow such a precious achievement of human culture as
the telling of a story to be shattered into smithereens by commercials, the same
amazement we feel today when we look at our ancestors for whom slavery, capital
punishment, burning of witches, and the inquisition were acceptable everyday
events." Film as Art is an appeal to moviegoers in the spirit of this conviction.
2. Film is
Great literature has a way of being fickle on its road to immortality. My favorite example: In
the late eighteenth century, Gothic novels were considered the
trailer-trash talk shows and the gossip magazines of their time.
Books like Matthew Lewis’ The Monk and Mary Shelley’s
Frankenstein were dismissed as foolishness for the weak-minded.
Even the Victorina master Charles Dickens was only a best-selling author of penny dreadfuls. Today, they are considered some of the greatest contributions
to literature every created. Truly, what Lewis, Shelley, Dickens, and
others left behind for those who come after them are a reflection
of their times to later generations. Movies are the same; they are the literature created by the twentieth century and its technological advances. As revealed by the precedence set literature, films will leave messages to the generations after us. They are the artform that represents us to the future. Who we were
will be reflected in the art left behind, which will be interpreted
and re-interpreted by scholars for the rest of humanity’s
history. Thus, films are no less literature meant to be analyzed
and appreciated than the “trashy” Gothic novels before
them. What entertains us today will be considered invaluable later.
Thus, it is our responsibility to make sure the messages that
we leave reflect who we are, our hopes, our dreams, our flaws,
and our history. Film as Art is dedicated to deciphering those themes, so that we can understand today the legacy that we leave.
1. Five star rating.
use the five-star rating system for my film reviews (*=poor, **=fair,
***=good, ****=great, *****=classic). It should be noted, however, that one
cannot base my opinion of a film on the rating alone. The star-system
is simply the level that I recommend a film, and there are many
reasons for recommending or not recommending movies. For example,
I might find a film flawlessly directed and produced with engaging
acting, but if I feel the film is dishonest and immoral, I might
only rate it one star. Films that might not quite work 100% that
are nevertheless thought provoking and engaging might be awarded
the highest, four-star rating (the five-star rating is reserved for films that have stood the test of time and are regarded as benchmarks in the artform). The true quality of the film can
only be determined, then, by the content of my review and not
simply on the level that I recommend it. It is necessary to read
my articles and not just look at my rating. For more information
of the five-star rating system, please click here.
2. Literary criticism
and film history.
Great criticism creates a conversation between various pieces of literature throughout the ages, revealing how they respond to each other and how, when considering them together, we can better appreciate them all individually. My approach to reviewing films will not be
based on opinion alone, but opinion as it applies to my knowledge
and experience as a literary critic, a film historian, and admirer of written literature. My interpretation
of each film is written as literary analyses, integrating the
effects of various filmmaking techniques, and comparing each film
to other literature - whether it be books, poems, other films, etc. - of similar style and themes that came before it. By appreciating how literature interacts with other literature, we can understand our own approaches to engaging, comprehending, and enjoying it.
3. Emphasis on older,
smaller, and under-the-radar films.
I admire Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films
as much as the next fellow, but reviewing them as an independent
film critic not associated with a major publication is pointless.
Anyone who wants to see them won’t need my review to convince
them. Therefore, unless I truly feel like I have something important
to say about a film with a high profile, my focus will be mainly
on smaller films that have seen less of the limelight. I see dozens
of films a year that are superb, but it seems like I’m the
only one who’s ever heard of them. That’s what I’m