Friday, May 21, 2010

Notes on a Filmosopher

From Ridley Scott, director of Gladiator (2000), comes Robin Hood. The trailer for that popular film type informs audiences that watching an epic story will be like watching the other. Thus, they will have some expectations about Robin Hood because they presumably have watched the former film. Trailers are not necessarily shown in movie theaters: they proliferate online and on TV. Thus, Daniel Frampton’s idea a film is “an organic intelligence…a ‘film being’ thinking about the characters and subjects in the film” suggests that audiences encounter films without any notion of what it is or where it came from (7). I agree with Frampton that film induces some kind of a waking dream state, where we forget about directors, Hollywood, and camera angles to experience the film as a new world. However, we are not innocent to filminds or film worlds, especially if we are anticipating moments in some film worlds, as if we have travelogues prepared/habituated thanks to the domination of narrative.

Frampton states that film offers philosophy, rather than validating philosophical concepts. I see no problem in philosophers using film for philosophical discourse. Films can reveal the intricacies of debates like cloning and the sanctity of identity, or the instability of judicial meaning in particular legal situations. Besides, some narratives express philosophical issues by their very construction: story and character. If academic writing takes the position of philosophy offering its services to film, then it is the filmind that does this in its form of thinking.

Frampton also implies a general definition for or identification of cinema. An aspect of the filmind is “the creation of the basic film-world of recognisable people and objects” (6). Thus, as long as representations of reality are perceived, then the filmind is a legitimate being. Otherwise, nonrepresentational images have no existence. Since this concept is intended for the moviegoer, then he or she will accept narrative films as cinema. Abstract films do not any “film-thinking,” for there is no designing and figuring of the film-world. If films are to be treated as autonomous beings, then experimental/abstract films should garner the equality that standardized films have, in their recognition as filminds.

By Raul Garcia

Work Cited
Frampton, Daniel. Filmosophy. London: Wallflower Press, 2006.

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