There are too many film production courses in Ireland. Only around thirty features films can be made in Ireland every year. There needs to be equal emphasis on the history of film. Ban the equipment! Articulate the medium from within yourself. I studied production for two years in Ireland and film studies for two years in the UK. I found that the analysis of film was my strong point even though I struggled so much to articulate it in academic language at the time.
I find that a skilled technician for film does not always watch a lot of films, the same can be said of for film academics. Filmmaker William Friedkin has said he hasn’t watched many films since Blade Runner in 1982. Filmmaker Peter Greenaway says that we’ve had over a hundred years of illustrated text, we need to think visually. He said that film died in 1983 with the birth of the remote control giving the viewer the choice to change the channel. I am a cinephile. By cinephile I mean I’m open to film culture from not just Hollywood, the six continents of this world, knowing what you don’t know. As Mark Cousins argues “we don’t need to see these things that we’ve seen so many times”. It is to be passionately international to cinema; as Cousins, Jonathan Rosenbaum and Adrian Martin have taught us. I’ve watched Apichatpong’s Tropical Malady and Uncle Boonmee: Who Can Recall His Past Lives, I can’t emotionally connect to them, maybe I will in the future.
How important are the Oscars anyway? Recognition from Hollywood? Yes. Awards are taken too seriously and should never overshadow the greatness or dullness of a said film. Mike Leigh says that they are two kinds of cinema, Hollywood and World Cinema. I’m with Rosenbaum there are just good films and bad films from the six continents. There is an idea amongst some cinephobes that it’s acceptable to knock World Cinema, but not necessarily be highly critical of Hollywood because it’s all they see. As a critic you must ask as Cousins points out “what films are not being seen and why?”
In 2012 David Cameron urged the British film culture to go mainstream, BBC news presenters are heard to say “there is enough depressing films that no one sees in art cinemas. “Surely you know what films are going to be hits” “Surely a film can be judged by how good it is based on how much money it makes.” Cinema needs Mark Cousins to help open the doors to us to watching as many different films as possible. As Robert Bresson says “Make visible what, without you, might perhaps have never been seen”. The economic aspect of film culture is too narrow to be the only reason they are made. I see the main point in watching any film that they will hopefully be one image I can take from it. They must be made to be remembered. The worst thing a film can be is forgettable.
Writing about a film from memory is an art within itself. Michael Haneke’s Cache changed my life, I’ll never forget the way Haneke films Georges and Majid’s son in the lift, the reverse mirror, Georges reaction, this is Haneke’s cinema, making the insignificant significant. As Cousins argues “Cinema is better than any other art form at the repressed, sexual, damaged, dreamy, Freudian aspects of the human mind but it doesn’t look or feel rational because it isn’t. This is why it’s undervalued. This is why it doesn’t have the prestige it deserves.” The cinemas doors are open. Six doors to six continents, which one will you choose?