?

Log in

(no subject)

« previous entry | next entry »
May. 13th, 2015 | 12:20 am

No word is thrown around with as much confidence and carelessness as the word ‘classic’. Any person believes that they can simply crown something a ‘classic’ without truly understanding what makes something great. The problem here with the term ‘classic’ is that there are so many different definitions of what is considered a memorable and important thing. In an attempt to be able to describe something as a ‘classic’, certain criteria must be designed and met. This criteria obviously varies on account of what is important to one’s personal definition of a classic, but there are some things that are prevalent in each definition of the word ‘classic’. For something to be a classic, it must stand the test of time and prove to be influential and something of true importance. Of course, even this definition of a classic is subjective to a person’s own personal opinion and the information that they possess opposed to someone else’s opinion. If one is to explore their own definition of a classic, there needs to be more specific parameters to define the term.
Because ‘classic’ is such a slippery term, a lot of care has to be put into defining the word and then applying it to something. To narrow things down, directors and their films have their own special criteria to be met to be considered a classic. For Stanley Kubrick, a man often called classic, specific criteria must be met to prove that he is in fact a ‘classic’ in his line of work and that his films are considered classic. Thankfully, when met with specifications, he is found to be a true classic in the film industry. Contemporary filmmakers can be recognized for their true artistry and their heart put into a film, but not enough time has gone by to be able to conclusively determine whether a current director will be remembered as a classic. A director like Christopher Nolan, the director of the well-loved and well-received ‘Batman’ franchise may constantly prove to be talented with a true heart for directing, but time hasn’t confirmed that he is a classic yet. Thankfully, it is possible to fit the film-specific and objective criteria for a ‘classic’ film or director to Christopher Nolan and compare the same specifications to a widely- accepted classic of the film industry, Stanley Kubrick.
The art of film is relatively new compared to other types of art. While people have been singing and painting and sculpting for centuries and centuries, the first ‘true’ film shot in 1894 by the Lumiére brothers in France (Pruitt). Even though this medium of art is still new, the films that have been produced in the past 120 years have been memorable landmarks on the development of film. Films that have been exceptionally notable deserve the title of a classic. The recognition of films that are considered ‘classic’ is very important in our culture. Praise and celebration of films that are masterfully made can keep a level of quality in the film industry. While the goal is not to copy these classic films, to see a film that is very well made can inspire many to make films just as memorable and just as well. Even people who are not filmmakers benefit from the defining of ‘classic’. These people are able to see films and get lost in worlds that they could never conceive. Furthermore, when people watch films that are considered ‘classic’, they are able to put their own opinions into the ongoing dialogue about film. With that in mind, it's easy to recognize why these films are important. Watching films that are notable for the quality of the film as a whole teaches viewers how to be more effective critics while also encouraging people to engage with the film that they are presented with.
Before getting into comparing and contrasting Kubrick and Nolan, it would obviously be very helpful to specify the criteria necessary to make such a decision of what makes one classic. For the purposes of objectivity, the criteria must be solid and inarguable. Therefore, the criteria for this specific argument are: the care put into the craft of filmmaking itself, the critical success of the films, and the commercial success of the films. The craft of the films themselves refers to the meticulousness and care put into the films along with literacy with the history of film. The value on the objective craft of the film is to prove that the director knows enough about their art that they are able to apply concepts of film to their own films. Along with showing competency of filmmaking, getting additional professional voices speaking about the films created is also valued. The critical success of the films will show that their work is well-respected by people who are knowledgeable of the art of film. Finally, the commercial success of the films will be able to show how accessible the films are to the general public. With these criteria in mind, it is safe to argue that Christopher Nolan will be remembered as a classic filmmaker just like Stanley Kubrick.
One of the most important criteria for being considered a classic in the film industry is the knowledge and care put into crafting a film. This is a complicated specificity to meet in some senses because there are so many people working on a film that can determine the success of a film. With that in mind, a director will get the final say in creative decisions and the choosing of people working on the film. A director’s decision on a film is much more influential than any decision made by any other member on the project. The care that must be put into a good film also needs to show that the director is able to think in ways that are unique to the film business. One way that the director can prove their place in the film industry is to prove their competency with and proceed to manipulate many rules of film. The care that the directors put into making their films not only shows that a director is creative, but in many occasions, it can show the director’s knowledge of the film industry of years past. Because all of these different variables are paramount in the umbrella criteria of the director’s care put into the craft, this criteria may be the most important determining factor in the argument regarding the status of a director as ‘classic' or not.
Stanley Kubrick was well-known for his attention to detail and his genuine knowledge of the art of filmmaking. Kubrick cared very much about every detail that he included in his films. He was so dedicated to his filmmaking that it is glaringly obvious that “he went to extraordinary lengths to avoid mediocrity in his work, in order that it might last and not fall into oblivion.” (Wrigley). Kubrick cared about the quality of his work, never wanting to make a film that he himself did not find to be up to par with his own expectations of what his film should be. Along with caring deeply about the quality of the films he produced, Kubrick was able to prove that he was extremely skilled in his craft. In the film documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a series that references a Kubrick film in its title, writer, director, and narrator Mark Cousins describes Kubrick by saying “Like Orson Welles and Buster Keaton, he was an inventive, confident realizer of physical worlds on screen.” Not only did Kubrick put a great deal of effort into creating a film of a certain quality, he was able to live up to his high standards in the eyes of filmmakers today.
While it’s good that Kubrick cared about the quality of his work, it is not enough to care about how good one’s film can be. There needs to be proof that there is mastery and creativity in the filmmaking process to even be considered memorable. The films that Kubrick made speak for themselves in regards to mastery and creativity. His well-known 1968 film 2001: A Space Odyssey is well known for its many triumphs. Dale E. Williams says in his article “2001: A Space Odyssey: A Warning Before Its Time” that the “technological perfection" of the film itself is so great that “to be able to see beyond that [technological perfection] may take a few years.” Williams sets a high standard, but 2001: A Space Odyssey can easily meets the high standard presented. The film is considered “for its time…. one of the most, if not the most, scientifically accurate film ever made” according to scientist David Kirby by accurately acknowledging many scientific facts that were new to public dialogue (Gambino). It's worth noting that 2001 came out in 1968, over a year before the moon landing in July of 1969 (“July 20, 1969: One Giant Leap For Mankind”). The amount of effort put into the scientific accuracy of the film is extraordinary.
The film recognizes a series of universal rules regarding films but also plays with the rules. One notable rule he plays with is the 180 degree rule, a rule where an imaginary straight line is placed in a scene and, once the director has chosen the side of the line they want to use, is not to be crossed. When this line is crossed, the perspective of the scene is lost, which confuses the audience. Kubrick breaks the 180 degree line many times in all of his films specifically to bring this uncomfortable switch of perspectives to the audience’s attention. In 2001: A Space Odyssey, Kubrick breaks the line many times to evoke a feeling of disorientation and lack of control. One of the most notable scenes in the film where the line is broken is the scene where astronaut Dave Bowman enters the logic and memory center of the murderous supercomputer HAL 9000 and starts shutting HAL down. Dave enters the room and starts floating towards the memory area. The line is broken while HAL calmly begs for his life as Dave begins disassembling HAL. Because Kubrick purposefully broke the line, the audience clearly knows and recognizes the gravity of the situation. Kubrick proves what while the rules of filmmaking can be helpful, sometimes it is better to break the rules if the film experience can be enhanced.
A Space Odyssey was not the only film where Kubrick broke the 180 degree line. He also breaks the line in the bathroom scene in The Shining. Jack Torrence just finishes kissing a very beautiful and naked young woman right before the line breaks, revealing that this young and beautiful woman is in fact an old woman. The 180 degree line rule was not the only rule broken by Kubrick in this film. Throughout The Shining, Kubrick broke the rule of thirds, a rule that encourages shots to have subjects slightly to the left or slightly to the right to ensure aesthetically pleasing scenes. Instead, Kubrick used the one-point perspective, a film technique where the is a well-defined center in the shot with semi-symmetry on each side of the subject. This is pleasing to the eye at first, but with a subject in the center constantly, the audience will start to feel uneasy at the symmetry. This artistic decision to mirror many different places in the hotel shows that Kubrick had very specific expectations of what the audience should take away from each scene. The mirroring of shots such as the shot of Danny riding his tricycle down a hallway shows that there is one real world, and a more sinister copy of the world, as if looking in a mirror. This may not be what the audience was able to consciously take away from the shot, but the audience is always very aware of how meticulously planned some of the scenes look. The images the film shows are so beautiful and stepford that the viewer cannot help but imagine that something will go terribly, terribly wrong. The care that Kubrick put into his films is easily identifiable and self-evident, and this genuine caring is something that has made Kubrick a classic in his field.
Much like Stanley Kubrick, Christopher Nolan also has a very specific amount of time and effort put into his films. Nolan’s effort that he puts into films comes from a deep place of caring for the quality of films. Nolan cares about authenticity in his films and what he can do to give the audience the best viewing that he can. Nolan cares about the choices that he can make in his own films. He in his own words explained that he cared about making films “because film has the best imaging capabilities that exist” (Cox). More than just caring about films, it’s clear that he puts a great amount of effort into making the best film that he can. Along with showing his attention to detail, Nolan’s dedication to authenticity in his films is something to be respected. Nolan is vocal about sticking to using film to record his films instead of going digital, as so many popular directors have done in the past years. He also is a strong critic of 3D, refusing to let any of his films be released in 3D as he sees it as a gimmick to get more money from the viewers. Nolan thinks that his films should be experienced as he intends them to be, and he has no intention of his movies being turned into 3D attractions.
Nolan shows his creativity with his craft in many of the same ways that Kubrick did before him. Nolan finds creative ways to tell his stories. For example, in his 2000 film Memento, a film about a man with short term memory loss hell bent on finding his wife's killer and avenging her, the story is told backwards. This helps the audience understand the man’s struggle with his perception of reality while also giving the viewers a twist that the widower will never remember. This type of storytelling differs greatly from the popular storytelling formula, but proves to be effective in the case of Memento. Much like Kubrick, Nolan also is not afraid to break certain rules of filmmaking. Nolan also breaks the 180 degree line in the 2008 film The Dark Knight in the interrogation scene between Batman and the Joker. Bruce Wayne is emotional and worried about the hostages that the Joker took and is not hiding his emotions as best he could. When he starts to break apart and start resorting to brute violence in an attempt to punch the truth out of the Joker, the line breaks, showing the audience that the situation is a lot less controlled than they originally thought.
Nolan also puts a great deal of emphasis on the reality of what he films. In all of his movies, he works to make sure that what the director of photography records is as close to what the viewer sees as possible. Instead of going the many times easier route of adding special effects or using a green-screen, Christopher Nolan tries to find creative ways to make things look as real as possible. In his 2010 film “Inception”, Nolan incorporated many different techniques as alternatives to the use of special effects or green screens. In many scenes in the second dream level, Arthur is floating in zero-gravity while trying to fight back at his attackers. To shoot these films, Nolan convinced Arthur’s actor, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, to try to do as many stunts as possible, using a revolving set to properly express the world that Arthur was trying to maneuver through (Chavez). The emphasis on actors doing their own stunts was not exclusive to ‘Inception’. In Nolan’s 2012 film ‘The Dark Knight Rises’, he convinced Catwoman’s actress Anne Hathaway to do all of her own stunts as well. Christopher Nolan truly cares about making films how he wants them to be made, and he wants his films to be made with the most care possible.
The next piece of criteria to be explored in the comparison of Stanley Kubrick’s work and the work of Christopher Nolan is the critical success of the films. For a film to be reviewed by someone who clearly knows the art of filmmaking just as much as the filmmakers is a very valuable contribution to the discussion on films. Critics are part of a very important part of film documentation and are able to offer insight that the average person might not be able to have. Film critics are educated individuals who are able to identify a good film when they see it. Their input is important because they are able to explain to the population the artistry behind the creation of a film. This is why critical success is so important for a film and its director to be considered a classic.
Kubrick was very often a shining star of film reviews by critics. The Shining earned a 4/4 from revered critic Roger Ebert, who went as far as to say that the film was “strangely disturbing", something that the director of the horror film probably would have liked to hear. Ebert was not the only critic to honor Stanley Kubrick. Film critic Leonard Maltin put both Dr. Strangelove and 2001: A Space Odyssey on his list of 100 must-see films from the 20th century. In the valuable opinions of film critics, Stanley Kubrick was a visionary and a truly influential director.
Along with Kubrick, Christopher Nolan’s filmography is also widely loved and accepted by film critics. Critics are able to find the care and artistry that he puts into his films and they reward him for it with praise and telling the public that he is something worth watching.
The final criteria for what constitutes a classic for film directors is the commercial success of the films that are made. It’s good to be knowledgeable of the history of film and to be well-respected by film critics everywhere, but a film means nothing if it is not seen and loved by other human beings. This is why commercial success for any film is extremely important.
Kubrick’s commercial success is very well-known. All of his films have reached the point of being called a ‘cult favorite’ in addition to being very respected by the mainstream as well. David Church wrote about Kubrick’s cult favorite identity in his article “The ‘Cult’ of Kubrick: Cult Cinema in the Land of the Auteur”, pointing out that “Kubrick’s legacy is undeniable and he has clearly become part of the film canon”. When looking through his filmography, it is certain that a person will be able to identify at least a good number of the films as belonging to Stanley Kubrick. Kubrick has been so accessible and well-liked that film amateurs all around the world perk up when they hear his name uttered.
Christopher Nolan also has his fair share of film disciples. His films consistently impressed young film aficionados, so now that they are better at understanding what makes a film special, they have a newfound appreciation of him and all the work that he does. This popularity shows when looking at box office earnings. Nolan’s second film in the Batman saga, The Dark Knight, made over $530 million since coming out in 2008 (citation). Even Nolan’s films that are not considered as commercially successful still find a great amount of success among film fans. Nolan is exceptionally lucky to be as talented as he is in this age because while he can still maintain a strong cult following, his success from the Batman saga along with inflation helped him become notable commercially as well.
To truly consider something a classic, there is only the test of time to determine the true staying power and the influence a director or film will have over someone. While this is without a doubt true, there are clear indicators that are found in every great filmmaker that can prove that they will be classic in what they do. Stanley Kubrick at one time was not considered a classic, but as time went on and he proved himself to be exceptional and worthy of the title ‘classic’. Just as Kubrick was once not considered a classic, modern day filmmaker Christopher Nolan is not yet considered a classic. However, though he is not considered a classic at the moment, Nolan possesses qualities of a great filmmaker. He and Kubrick both put a significant amount of care into their work. Their care and their proof that they have an understanding of what makes a good film caught the attention of film critics, who celebrate both directors with the same fervor. Both Nolan and Kubrick showed the same level of consistent quality with their films and that consistency, along with the praise given to them from the film critics, ensured that their films would see commercial success. This confirms Kubrick’s status as a classic director while proves that one day, Christopher Nolan will be remembered as one of the great filmmakers of his time. In other words, Nolan will be remembered as a classic of his time.

Link | Leave a comment | Share

Comments {3}

Jenni

(no subject)

from: foreverthyme
date: May. 13th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Link

hello!

". For something to be a classic, it must stand the test of time and prove to be influential and something of true importance. " this sentence sounds a little awkward. ive been trying to play around with it. maybe "it must stand the test of time and prove to be influential and truly important" idk. i think its the two ands that are making it sound a little awkward.

"If one is to explore their own definition of a classic, there needs to be more specific parameters to define the term.
Because ‘classic’ is such a slippery term, " the use of the word "term" is repetitive here

"Contemporary filmmakers can be recognized for their true artistry and their heart put into a film" probably the "heart they put" not "their heart"

"A director like Christopher Nolan, the director of the well-loved and well-received ‘Batman’ franchise may constantly prove to be talented " the use of director twice so quickly sounds repetitive again, maybe start with "someone like christopher nolan, the director of" ? obviously this all your judgment call

"Thankfully, it is possible to fit the film-specific and objective criteria for a ‘classic’ film or director to Christopher Nolan and compare the same specifications to a widely- accepted classic of the film industry, Stanley Kubrick." you use thankfully once a little sooner in this its far away where its not repetitive sounding but since thankfully is used as a benchmark one other time u might want to opt for another word like "however" but i dont think its super important

", the first ‘true’ film shot in 1894 by the Lumiére brothers in France (Pruitt). " first true film was

"the films that have been produced in the past 120 years have been memorable landmarks on the development of film" in the development of film ?

"The craft of the films themselves refers to the meticulousness and care put into the films along with literacy with the history of film. " with literacy of the history of film (?)

the first four paragraphs honestly could probably be turned into one paragraph

"One way that the director can prove their place in the film industry is to prove their competency with and proceed to manipulate many rules of film." prove is repetitive

"Because all of these different variables are paramount in the umbrella criteria of the director’s care put into the craft, this criteria may be the most important determining factor in the argument regarding the status of a director as ‘classic' or not." can be made into two sentence at the comma after "craft" or you can replace the comma with a ";"

". In the film documentary series The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a series that references a Kubrick film in its title, writer, director, and narrator Mark Cousins describes Kubrick by saying “Like Orson Welles and Buster Keaton, he was an inventive, confident realizer of physical worlds on screen.” " i think u italicize the title but i feel like that was just formatting not hopping over.

"Williams sets a high standard, but 2001: A Space Odyssey can easily meets the high standard presented." easily meet

", Kubrick used the one-point perspective, a film technique where the is a well-defined center in the shot with semi-symmetry on each side of the subject" where there is

good use of the word "stepford"

"Bruce Wayne is emotional and worried about the hostages that the Joker took and is not hiding his emotions as best he could. " awkward phrasing could be tighter


Reply | Thread

Jenni

(no subject)

from: foreverthyme
date: May. 13th, 2015 07:04 pm (UTC)
Link

"When he starts to break apart and start resorting to brute violence in an attempt to punch the truth out of the Joker" repetitive

info about critics and nolan is lacking

the three paragraphs about the commercial success could probably be put into one paragraph for the purposes of this essay

great conclusion!!!


in response to your tumblr message:

" I don’t have many sources for my points about critics and commercial success so I know I need to work on that" i actually didnt notice that anything was off about that at all. i thought sourcing for those parts was fine. the only thing that might've needed to be sourced more was the information about film specifics etc like i know you know it but your professor might want to see that youve consulted scholars

"I know that I’m gonna have to trim down on the film analysis" actually i dont think that you have to do that at all! the film analysis was the most solid part i thought!!!

"I’m also probably gonna cut a lot out of the intro and the general opening stuff" i 100% agree with this. u have a lot of information that could be boiled down into a couple of main points but i can like see ur ne journey which was neat

also i learned a lot which was super fun! the film analysis is the best part. the actual information is solid, interestiong and well written and youre conclusion is excellent. really all u need to do is tighten it up.

also there was only one comma splice :DDDDD

Reply | Parent | Thread

Jenni

(no subject)

from: foreverthyme
date: May. 13th, 2015 07:05 pm (UTC)
Link

also i really enjoyed reading an analysis abt one of my fav films ever tdk i never noticed that about the interrogation scene before

Reply | Parent | Thread