Saturday, 18 August 2012

MA Dissertation rough intro - feedback appreciated

This is likely to be jiggled around and CERTAINLY tidied up/proofed, etc between now and two weeks time, but this is the jist of my MA dissertation. 600 words here that will be expanded into 15,000 (or as much over that, that I can get away with). Please have a read and if you think of anything interesting related please let me know about it. I won't be able to inject any radically new material to what I already have gathered, but anything that springs to mind will a) be of great interest and b) may help to form exactly how I put together the ludicrous compilation of notes I already have. Anyone interested in doing any proof-reading on the full thing (or bits of it) next week would be my best friend for at least that day.
Either comment below, email or catch me on twitter @DestroyApathy


The film industry is reputedly a medium of big business, with the dominant rhetoric of ever-increasing box office records and markers placed in line with the opening weekend takings of films across the globe. This specific language-game becoming the measure of success and therefore shaping taste in the global distribution, and by extension, production of cinema would lead one to believe that the goal of moneymaking is placed higher than the artistic aims of creating an engaging, entertaining and moving piece of moving-imagery that can dominate the mind for weeks after viewing, impart ideas, challenge world-views and ultimately stay with someone their whole life. This is not implying that the large, Hollywood studio produced and distributed films that embody such a profits-driven outlook cannot affect someone in the same way, but should simply highlight the fact that the discourse of art versus commerce is placed very much in the forefront when examining exactly how the films that are presented to us are introduced to the complex system of global film distribution and exhibition. There seems to be two distinct, though undeniably intermingled, origins of a film’s ability to travel the world: the linear approach of Hollywood studio production and the non – or more specifically less - linear approach of the complex network of the international film festival network. It is surely undeniable that the economic might of Hollywood, with its synergy of corporate ownership (SEE THAT EJUMPCUT ESSAY) and power has the largest influence on what films populate the box office and the screens at multiplex cinemas in towns and cities across the world. Yet what of the alternative, often deriving from, or intentionally entering the film festival network? Why do so many films that populate the ‘arthouse’NOTE ON CRAP TERM cinemas, as well as many of the multiplexes that now cater for ‘alternative content’ and niche-tastes, that aren’t produced under Hollywood’s production system, or with its aesthetic tastes, generic tropes and compliance with easily saleable dominant ideologies? This isn’t to say that these systems are mutually exclusive, that their methods and approaches aren’t part of the same symbiotic system. It is the intention of this essay to examine exactly why, in the face of increasing Hollywood synergy and box office control, are film festivals not only still in existence, but also constantly growing in number. Far from alluding to an entirely unrelated alternative distribution model, it will look throughout the history of film distribution and consider why there has always been – and possibly always needs to be – both counter, yet cooperative approaches. This will be achieved by underpinning the cinephilia that drives the urge to find and present films ‘other’ to the dominant model, and how cinephilia constantly reinvents itself to ensure that cinema remains fresh, injects its contemporary landscape with the love of moving images and challenges philistine attempts to push corporate agendas over the artistic merit of film. By doing so, rather than creating an unrelated counter-system, it enters into a neo-Gramscian system of counter-hegemony whereby it can influence other forms of more populist film production and distribution, which ensures that films stay fresh, yet avoid being trapped down cultural ghettos. This process will be set against the changing socio-cultural values of the time, particularly the influence, in the 1970s, of the postmodern pioneer Jean-Francois Lyotard’s notions of the emergence of non-linear ‘little narratives’ having increasing influence over established, fixed and linear ‘grand narratives’. Further, the influence of this paradigm-altering development is related to the rise of neoliberal free market economics, which has greatly – for better and/or worse – influenced the developments of film distribution.