“Art is a complex amalgamation of emotions and abstractness. Even Nietzsche would cringe when someone half-heartedly proclaims that art is pointless since we are all going to die.”
– Arvind Ganesh
“No form of art goes beyond ordinary consciousness as film does, straight to our emotions, deep into the twilight of our soul.” said Ingrid Bergman, the famous Hollywood actress. Perhaps you have heard of her? No? Oh well, I don’t blame you. After all, she wasn’t exactly the type who would appear on screen drenched with carmine and lipstick.
A few days back, a friend was asking me if art is inherently elitist, opening a whole new can of worms. Upon introspection, it is not difficult to realize that the word ‘elitist’ is heavily loaded and inaccurately holds such a negative connotation. Art is not by any means obligated to make itself presentable to the population as a whole. It is not obligated to downplay its intricacies and idiosyncrasies simply because the lazy and uninterested may passively relish it while the keen observers take a siesta due to lack of mental stimulation. We are advancing as a species, and part of that advancement is one of the mind, a deeper and broader understanding of things.
Cinema is art. Cinema is a complex amalgamation of emotions and abstractness. Even Nietzsche would cringe when someone half-heartedly proclaims that cinema is pointless since we are all going to die.
But I digress. That is not what the article wishes to address. Rather, it seeks to answer whether all films should incorporate indirect cues/symbolism for the audience to decipher, either through objects in the shot, or by making use of the advancement in the technical fields (unusual shots, lighting, sound, editing, etc). There are many ways of looking at it. The conclusion will be that it is perfectly fine to do so since the pros outweigh the non-existent cons.
It is important to note that the existence of allegory and figuration does not require you, the viewer, to identify them to get a feeling of ‘completeness’ if all that you want to do is blow off some steam. Therefore, nothing bad can come out of adding a ravaging elephant here and there *wink*.
Such a culture could be a step towards gaining a mentality of observation over mere reaction. In retrospect, I can vouch for the fact that taking the plunge in such a culture would result in original artwork from all four corners, which, despite most being shoddy, would still qualify as elitist. Indeed, this is one way by which the gap would be reduced between the elite and their sapien counterparts; but unlike caste reservations, this is not a zero-sum game. You would end up raising the average standard of the society of interst.
But like all proposals, this one ought to be treated with caution. It is not exactly ‘difficult’ to make a pointless work brimming with snobbishness like Tarantino’s Fight Club, incorporating Brad Pitt in TV commercials prior to his introduction as a character.
Keeping that in mind, I encourage you to watch a couple of David Lynch films and read a bunch of links analyzing their work to get the approach. It will take time, a bit of practice and a lot of frustrating moments to get the hang of it. Don’t stop there, go out there and identify symbolism in Salman Khan movies like a boss. You earned it!
– Arvind Ganesh
Catch the other side of the story on A Critique of the Critic
Cover designed by: Anshuman Das