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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:45 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
Don't, nobody take the bait

;~}

Is that a quote from something?


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:52 am 
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Apologies, I should have made it clearer, my comment about Wenders' work was not to agree that he was worse than Renoir of Lang, I certainly don't feel that and I think a film like Until the End of the World is, for me, far more interesting than something like Dejeuner sur l'herbe. With the Wenders comment I was trying to say that you can feel a filmmaker is perhaps not as consistently great and yet still be more appealing than someone who is generally revered like Renoir, I think it's far more subjective than rrenault says. But anyway, that was just to clear up any confusion.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:58 am 
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Apparently you do need to nail that comparison to the church door, dom. That'll teach you to ask rhetorical questions!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:11 pm 
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Brian C - I was responding generally as my comment had began some bitter debate, rrenault was the target of the rhetorical question, not I. I was agreeing with Dom.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:16 pm 
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I wasn't directing my comment at you - sorry for the misimpression. I was responding to rrenault's clear implication that dom's admiration of Wenders was based on "pure ignorance".


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:18 pm 
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Apologies, my bad.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:33 pm 
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Brian C wrote:
I wasn't directing my comment at you - sorry for the misimpression. I was responding to rrenault's clear implication that dom's admiration of Wenders was based on "pure ignorance".

Not really fair to rrenault, I think. The context for "pure ignorance" was film students not being taught (not learning) to value Renoir and Vigo, as well as Wong Kar Wai and Coppola, but also Renoir and Vigo. (I think).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:41 pm 
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I have no idea what he meant, but that's plainly not what he actually said.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 12:50 pm 
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Things to avoid in a discussion:

A. Arguing through assertion. The way to make a persuasive, appealing argument is to establish premises and then show how you have worked from those premises towards a conclusion. The way to make an unpersuasive, off-putting argument is to take a bunch of conclusions that you haven't demonstrated and then state them as absolutes, as if that were the same thing as proving something. It's even worse when you do it with inherently relative opinions (arrogance and solipsism are not far behind).

B. Failing to define your terms either to yourself or your audience. It helps your readers figure out what you're saying if you explain how you're using terms like 'aestheticism' and 'humanism'. It also helps you, the writer, avoid making a series of blunders from revealing that you do not actually know what you mean by either term.

C. Don't set-up false antitheses. For instance, putting aestheticism and humanism on the opposite ends of an antithesis and then claiming that films ought to ride a narrow path between them, even tho' neither concept has much to do with the other and any film can be both wholly aestheticist and wholly humanist at the same time (just as it can be wholly non-aestheticist and nihilist, or non-aestheticist and theistic/fatalistic, or any other combination thereof). Cross-reference this with B.

D. Using sporting events as analogies for art. This is just daft.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:04 pm 
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I guess if "aestheticism" is equated to "purely art for art's sake, with total disregard of the significance of contents" (Oscar Wilde in Importance of Being Earnest, perhaps?) and humanism is equated to "concern with socially relevant content with total disregard to artistry" (???) -- then the two concepts could be antithetical. ;~}


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:24 pm 
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Michael Kerpan wrote:
I guess if "aestheticism" is equated to "purely art for art's sake, with total disregard of the significance of contents" (Oscar Wilde in Importance of Being Earnest, perhaps?) and humanism is equated to "concern with socially relevant content with total disregard to artistry" (???) -- then the two concepts could be antithetical. ;~}

Non-humanists are very much concerned with socially relevant concepts. Humanism and its antitheses are themselves just intellectual positions that differ on the centrality of human agency and value. And Oscar Wilde was a considerable humanist.

I guess I should add as a corollary to B.: don't play Humpty-Dumpty with language. If you're talking about form vs content, say so. Don't say aestheticism vs humanism. Those four terms are not coterminous.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:37 pm 

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Michael Kerpan wrote:
Brian C wrote:
I wasn't directing my comment at you - sorry for the misimpression. I was responding to rrenault's clear implication that dom's admiration of Wenders was based on "pure ignorance".

Not really fair to rrenault, I think. The context for "pure ignorance" was film students not being taught (not learning) to value Renoir and Vigo, as well as Wong Kar Wai and Coppola, but also Renoir and Vigo. (I think).


Well yes, this^^. I wasn't saying an interest in Wenders in and of itself indicated "pure ignorance". That was not my intention.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:42 pm 
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What is a "non-humanist"? (not a term I've ever encountered).

I did say "Oscar Wilde in Importance of Being Earnest" (with a perhaps) -- not in his work in general.

I hope it was clear that _I_ do not, in fact, think humanism and aestheticism were any sort of real-world opposites. ;-} (Only opposites if you rig the definitions in the first place).


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 1:56 pm 
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Michael Kerpan wrote:
What is a "non-humanist"? (not a term I've ever encountered).

I did say "Oscar Wilde in Importance of Being Earnest" (with a perhaps) -- not in his work in general.

I hope it was clear that _I_ do not, in fact, think humanism and aestheticism were any sort of real-world opposites. ;-} (Only opposites if you rig the definitions in the first place).

Oh I didn't mistake those for your positions for a second, Michael. I've been reading your posts for too long to make that mistake.

A non-humanist is just someone who isn't a humanist. As that could encompass a couple of exclusive positions, there isn't a good catchall term for it, so I just defined it in contradistinction. But, depending on how you're defining humanist, it basically means anyone who doesn't believe meaning, value, or agency is centred on humans. Basically everyone writing before 1500 would be a non-humanist, since humanism didn't exist, although I suppose you could make a retroactive case for a few. Dante is a great non-humanist, as value and agency come exclusively from God. Heaven is the centre around which everything revolves, not human beings and their way of thinking and feeling.

For some reason a lot of people use 'humanism' as a sentimental catch-all for artists who show some manner of warmth or affection for their characters or something. That's not humanism, not in any useful sense.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 2:48 pm 

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Well humanist art essentially means art that's not metaphysical or transcendental. The artist's concerns are grounded in the physical realm. Now humanist art can certainly have an existential bent to it, and it often does, but it's largely concerned with the quotidian I would say. It doesn't necessarily relate to "warmth" with respect to one's characters. So with that said, Fassbinder and Chantal Akerman, for instance, are definitely humanist fillmmakers, whereas Kieslowski is not. Antonioni is tough to determine, due to what Luc Moullet would call his misanthropy.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:06 pm 
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I don't intend to be rude, but your definition is such a word soup that honestly I thought you were going to call Akerman and Fassbinder aesthetics. I mean right there now you have to define metaphysical and transcendental since as I understand the terms they apply to Akerman as much as humanist. By memory at least this has even more strict confusion since you have someone like Ozu who (rightly) has been called a humanist and a transcendentalist. Again not to be mean, but your definitions and distinctions seem arbitrary to the extreme.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:06 pm 
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rrenault wrote:
Well humanist art essentially means art that's not metaphysical or transcendental. The artist's concerns are grounded in the physical realm. Now humanist art can certainly have an existential bent to it, and it often does, but it's largely concerned with the quotidian I would say. It doesn't necessarily relate to "warmth" with respect to one's characters. So with that said, Fassbinder and Chantal Akerman, for instance, are definitely humanist fillmmakers, whereas Kieslowski is not. Antonioni is tough to determine, due to what Luc Moullet would call his misanthropy.

Do you accept that this is your own, idiosyncratic definition and not a historical one? I hope so, because it's untrue in any other sense (humanism has no relation to either the physical or the quotidian; it's about a quality of mind and a sense of value; also bear in mind, Christians created the idea).

But taking your definition on your own terms, it just further proves your antithesis is false:

A. An aestheticist can still be wholly unconcerned with metaphysics and transcendence. Just as someone who isn't an aestheticist can be concerned with nothing but both of those.

B. it constructs a further false antithesis because metaphysical, transcendental filmmakers can also be largely concerned with the physical or the quotidian:
-Terence Malick's constant excavation of the physical particulars of life, be it small towns in Texas and South Dakota or the textures of the South Pacific.
-Andrei Tarkovsky's constant link between his character's physical surroundings and their ontological or metaphysical problems.

The two filmmakers above are more grounded in the physical particulars of the world than just about anyone else.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:08 pm 
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knives wrote:
I don't intend to be rude, but your definition is such a word soup that honestly I thought you were going to call Akerman and Fassbinder aesthetics. I mean right there now you have to define metaphysical and transcendental since as I understand the terms they apply to Akerman as much as humanist. By memory at least this has even more strict confusion since you have someone like Ozu who (rightly) has been called a humanist and a transcendentalist. Again not to be mean, but your definitions and distinctions seem arbitrary to the extreme.

Mostly I'd say they're just poorly thought-out. I get the sense that he makes up his arguments as he writes them.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 3:11 pm 
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I get that too which is why I'm trying to be polite. He's a good poster, but this horse was dead a while ago.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 5:02 pm 
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I'm just curious as to where Gaspar Noé fits into all of this 'aesthete'/'non-humanist' stuff!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 8:28 pm 
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rrenault wrote:
Granted, Tarkovsky and Welles were precisely the kinds of artists who would sit around waiting for the muse whereas Godard, Rohmer, and Renoir were the opposite.

This misrepresentation verges on outright cruelty: both Welles and Tarkovsky were constantly striving to make more films, but couldn't attract the funding or clearance to launch (or complete) all the projects they had to abandon or delay. And both filmmakers raged against the frustration and injustice of that state of affairs, so characterizing those intolerable constraints as airily 'waiting for their muse' does both a gross disservice.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 9:49 pm 
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I think we all just need to start making equally in(s)ane auteurist arguments to counterbalance all the crazy in this thread. I'll start: "Every Jon Turteltaub film renders the work of Alexander Dovzhenko irrelevant;" "Francis Ford Coppola may be a good director, perhaps even a great one, but he'll never be a really awesome director;" "Karen Duffy is the real auteur of Blank Check;" "It's science fact that any Fritz Lang film is better than every other Fritz Lang film."


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:06 pm 
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I like the sporting analogy idea best. Clearly Orson Welles is the Brooklyn Dodgers of cinema!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 10:17 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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I do like that Luc Moullet has been invoked, considering he made the best and most brutal mea culpa regarding the behaviors of the Cahiers critics (of which he was of course one) and their sometimes silly and willfully obtuse auteurist affinities with Les Sièges de l'Alcazar


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 26, 2014 11:00 pm 
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Though I think Charbrol's slutty career is the best finger to the more hardlined definitions.


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