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Found 8 results

  1. byronr


    Greetings.I am Byron,a 19 year old gradually slipping into cinema.Your writing,intelligence,and analysis is not only awesome and admirable,but inspirational.I only began to take films seriously about a year ago,understanding that it was much more than the blockbusters I had been mainly exposed to(not throwing them under the bus,just saying they did not build my curiosity enough to want to dive deeper into the seventh art they were coming from).Now,as a infant slowly falling down the rabbit hole,I find that I am having trouble understanding it fully.I find that I can sometimes appreciate the mise en sene,cinematography,editing,sound,acting,plot,and themes of a film,but after watching 'La Notte",I found myself lost,inarticulate,and grabbing for straws-looking for a way to 'get it'-which sometimes puts me off from watching 'art' films,as I feel like I am wasting my time watching,having to read online on the film after watching it,an act of labor sometimes. Inarticulation and understanding are my two major issues; 1. Inarticulation-I find it difficult to bring aspects of a film together.I find that I mostly appreciate one aspect while ignoring others.I do not want to be a film critic,I just want to be able to fully express my thoughts and feelings about film and bring all aspects of film into those thoughts and feelings. 2.Understanding-I never read reviews of films before watching them.I always want to go in fresh and then attempt to construct my own understanding of the film.When I watched 'La Notte' and other 'art' films,I was a bit clueless,feeling like I missed something.This then affects my 'film-esteem',making me feel automatically inept when analyzing a film,and blowing my mind when I read the intelligent,articulate,detailed and well-constructed analyses of others. Should I read other readings of the films after watching for better understanding(which sometimes makes me feel like a copy,not having my own),or read before to at least have a base to step when watching the film? What are the baby steps to be taken to be able to express and observe a film,forming understandings and analyses in the process? In short,I would love your assistance and advice in deepening and widening my growing love for cinema,specifically my articulation and understanding of films.It would be greatly appreciated,and thank you for taking the time to read this.
  2. I am well aware this is a topic touched upon quite frequently, and for that I apologize, but I feel as though I must expand the pool of opinion. I have had this stewing for a while, as a disclaimer. Essentially it boils down to my sneaking suspicions that criticism of most forms of media is being occupied (for lack of a better word) by this invasive attitude of faux objectivity. I think it was most evident to me roughly a week ago while discussing a film with a friend, when partway through an individual bluntly inserted himself into the conversation, plighting about how much he hated the item in question, how badly certain decisions affected the quality of the film, and many other diatribes about the composition and characters etc., etc. I was not angry that he was trashing the film (that my friend and I both enjoyed), I try not to engage in clearly fruitless arguments as a general practice, so I instead asked him why he thought (x) character was badly written. He thought for a moment and reverted to a lengthy response that essentially said: "Because it is bad." Not "Because I didn't like it" or "Because it was actively detrimental to the story being told", but "Because it is bad". The more I mull it over, the more I become discouraged. I realize I've been hearing that phrase for years, disguised by flowery language and aggregate reviews, and it now frustrates me to no end when someone touts their views like a flag on the moon. Has this attitude of mob criticism and treating opinion as fact been around longer than I realize? Isn't art supposed to be subjective, or am I just an idiot? This issue probably has a lot of grey area and I absolutely cannot say that I'm an expert, but I am very willing to be swayed. Just tired of negative, scolding criticism in general, I suppose.
  3. We have created a networking group for Christian filmmakers to help expand the Faith-based market. We have a Facebook group called Christian FIlmmakers Networking where you can network with other people in the industry. We also have a website www.christianfilmmakersnetworking.com where we feature some new and up and coming professionals in the industry. We also feature some of the biggest pioneers who have paved the way for so many who want to be involved. The only rules that we have are that you are respectful and that you do not post anything that does not honor God. There is never a charge to join the group or to be featured on the website. We truly have a heart for helping to grow the faith-based entertainment industry. God has blessed our company and we want to give back. Let's face there is strength in numbers and it never hurts to have friends who are willing to help you get you to where you need to be. Please feel free to check us out.
  4. So I know there was already a post about this in theater, but I was wondering how to deal with being a film actor and being asked to swear or do/talk about immoral things. Is it ok to do those things if it’s not real or you’re just portraying a character? I mean I’ve had to swear on stage, but it feels like it would be worse when it’s documented forever. Also I wonder if you could get very far in the industry if you refused to do stuff like take the lords name in vain or go nude. Anyone’s opinion in this? sorry if this is already a discussion I couldn’t find it.
  5. This article: Do Christians Have Poor Cultural Taste? is interesting. It says nothing new for those who have asked these kinds of questions before. I often think that to merely ask the question is to be on the right path. Here's a thought/question: Suppose a Christian has bad taste in art. What does that mean in terms of his/her soul? Is this fact a pointer (or could it be a pointer) to something more fundamental? Another thought/question: The article argues against a utilitarian approach to art. Though not well defined (it's a short article), the idea is that using art is not the same as receiving art, and that the former leads to bad taste and the latter to good taste. And then the author goes on to say that good tasted leads to less priggishness, and by implication, a better Christian and a better witness to the world. The potential problem I see with this (though I basically agree) is that it says to avoid a utilitarian approach to art so that one can then become a better witness, a better person, etc. It replaces one use with another. Perhaps a more interesting approach is to say that there are three transcendentals: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty. That these are eternal, and that to focus on only one or two is to lose sight, in some fundamental way, of who God is and what being made in the image of God is all about. Thus, saying that some Christians, while being champions for "Truth" but having poor cultural (read aesthetic) taste, is to say that they don't care about who God is as much as they claim (as much as their emotions and cherished self-images claim). This is not to harbor any degree of determining the hearts of any individual, for we can't and shouldn't try, but I think the overall question is valid. What are your thoughts?
  6. The Exorcist (1973), that great masterpiece of horror cinema and cinema in general, is known for many things: realism regarding the supernatural, a convicing defense of the supernatural realm of good and evil, brilliant performances, a documentarian style courtesy of William Friedkin, theological depth courtesy of William Blatty (author of the original 1971 novel), and a truly horrifying atmosphere that is a happy balance between shock and chill. But there was one moment which I wanted to discuss: the exorcism scene where Father Lankaster Merrin (Max von Sydow) and Damien Karras (Jason Miller) exorcise the demon (Mercedes McCambridge) out of Regan (Linda Blair). That scene is full of brilliance, awe, and a grand conflict of good and evil fighting one another, with Max von Sydow give a commanding role as Merrin, reading the exorcism rite with power and magnitude, even when he startes cursing the demon ("I cast you out! Unclean Spirit!"). And Jason Miller perfectly displays Karras, the less experienced priest who is shocked by the terror he sees, from the foul-mouthed language of Regan ("Your mother sucks c--ks in hell," "Stick your c--k up her a--, you mother---ing worthless c--ksucker.") to the bed levitating to the ghastly white face he saw in a dream before to the headspin and to the ghastly sights he sees. And Linda Blair, with the help of Mercedes McCambridge, is fantastic in her display of how far she has degraded since the demon entered into her. She uses everything bad, from foul language to headspinning to blasphemy to levitating in the form of a cross while the priests shout "The power of Christ compels you." And the lighting and aura is so perfect for the scene that it has been copied by many movies (many of which I haven't seen yet), and it fits so well with the darkness that Merrin is fighting. The noises are still scary and frightening, and it shows how visual displays and sounds can be truly frightening, milking it to the true potential. I would also like to note the iconic "The Power of Christ Compels You" moment, where the priests call upon the power of Jesus Christ to lift down the girl after she had been lifted high by the demon. They pour holy water over her, which seems to fail (as she gets these rashes on her), but eventually it does succeed (but not in casting out the demon). The acting is excellent, showing both the command they have in saying that line and the exhaustion they face after saying that so many times. And the reveal of the entity possessing her (a demon with a penis named Pazuzu) is very effective in its reveal, after a great buildup of exposition, horror and terror in the previous moments of the film (especially the chilling beginning). Regan's whimpering as he kneels lifting her hands while the demon's likeness is shown in the background, while the priests (especially Merrin) watch in shock. I would also like to note that the non-scary moments work well too, from the scene where Merrin takes his pills trembling and Karras assures Chris (Ellen Burstyn) that Regan won't die. as well as the (extended) scene where Merrin gets to the point as to who might be the real targets of the Satanic attack. As to some criticisms the scene receives, an author said: The Exorcist resolves into a more straightforward good-vs.-evil clash in its last half-hour, as “What’s happening to Regan?” becomes “Can’t someone get that evil creature out of Regan?” In the end, Father Karras comes through, when he coaxes the demon to leave Regan and enter him, just before he kills himself. It’s a symbolic gesture: the doubt-filled, depressed Karras reconnecting with his spiritual beliefs in a very real way. But while it’s a powerful ending, it’s disappointingly blunt in comparison with what came before. What’s at the root of the MacNeils’ problems? The demon Pazuzu, now cast out. The end. Blame absolved. (Link) I would say that the bluntness helps me admire the movie more as a Christian myself, and while I do have theological issues with the ending myself, it is interesting. And the ending allows us to guess the restoration process of what Regan can go through after being healed (a little more clearer in the original novel, as many have noted). And as a Christian, I do hold that demons and evil spiritual entities can cause problems (or at least exacerbatethem), and this view is held by many people, both Christians and non-Christians. I feel that this depiction of demons and familial problems is overall plausible, showing that the demon exacerbated problems that already were there (Regan going through divorce, the career of Chris, etc.) and branching them out to new ones (blasphemy, foul language, supernatural horrors and evils) And finally, let's get to the climactic ending of the film, where Merrin dies and Karras gives himself over to the demon to save Regan. This is brilliant because not only does it show how a servant of God (Merrin) faced evil unto his very death but also how Karras (the inexperienced priest and the "Doubting Thomas" of the movie) sacrifices himself for Regan in a Christlike, if theologically problematic (most Christians hold that a saved person cannot have a demon possess him; a demon might motivate a Christian to sin or torment him, but never can a demon possess the Christian, for the Holy Spirit resides in him (2 Timothy 1:7)), manner. For example, we don't hear much music in the background, and this is enough to convey both the horror and the goodness of this very scene. First, Father Karras gives into his anger and punches the living daylights out of Regan right before he says the famous "Take me!" line. So after Regan rips the amulet off around Karras's neck, we get a close-up shot of Karras's face as the demon is gaining its foothold over him, and he falls over his back. He gets up, using his own willpower, and as the demon is compelling him to assault Regan, his good will wins ("NO!") and he jumps out of the window, thus sacrificing himself for her, killing himself, and defeating the demon. And while this leaves Regan weeping and Karras a bloodied mess, we are finally glad to see the demon defeated and the restoration process ready to begin (thankfully Regan doesn't remember this, and let us ignore the much-hated Exorcist 2 when discussing the post-exorcism events). So why is this scene still powerful after all these years? Apart from the effective writing and fantastic performances from Sydow, Miller (a Puliter Prize winner, FYI), and Blair (who sadly never went to anything as fruitful after that), the scene encompasses what this movie is: scary, dark, shocking, visceral, intelligent, and ultimately spiritual.
  7. FilmFisher just launched today. I know little about the site, but I do know a little about some of the folks behind it. Looks promising. From the "About Us" section: FilmFisher is a movie review site by students and for students. Thoughtful high school and college students, guided by adult mentors, present reflective reviews of contemporary and older films. Films are reviewed for artistic excellence, cinematography, writing, acting, plot and the ways films succeed or fail at cultivating humanity and shape those living as Christians. In short, films are evaluated for their truth, goodness and beauty, or lack thereof. In addition to presenting reviews, FilmFisher seeks to explore other aspects of film such as filmmaking, film history and cultural analysis prompted and suggested by film. FilmFisher seeks to provide practical guidance for watching and evaluating films for students and parents, but also seeks to prompt students to study and contemplate film as an art form that when used well can form and shape people and culture for the common good.
  8. I've been interested in Medium ever since it launched a little while ago. I like it's simple, clean layout, and how easy it is to use. But I hadn't really found a good use for it myself until an idea occurred to me this morning. I decided to experiment with the site's collections feature, which allows users to make categories for other users to submit to. The collection I created is called Three Good Scenes. If you're familiar with the Howard Hawks quote about what makes a good movie, you may be able to guess what the general conceit is, but if I not I wrote a brief intro. Anyway, even though it's just an experiment on my part, I'd love to see something happen with it, and I thought some people on here would be interested.
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