Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Role of Film-makers as Culture-makers

N.B. This article was written for people called culture unplugged, they never got back to me, so I assume they don't want it...

Often one can hear some parents, mumbling uncles and aunties or even teachers, moan about the bad influence of the aggressive and violent films on kids. Very rarely one will hear some praise for the films that make you think and that actually have some cultural value, unless you are in a very special circle of people who actually understand film and can tell the commercial and cultural apart.

Everyone can keep up a conversation on how much one or another film has made on it's first weekend but rarely will we discuss the cultural impact of the films. Truly every film in one way or another has some impact, even if it's promoting the newest plastic doll, the fact that a team of people, spent many sleepless nights to deliver the product that will touch many completely different people around the world is an achievement. Film is the space where it does not matter who made it, what colour or sex they were, because we don't see them, but they all go underneath the "film-maker" label.

Think about the impact this small group of people can make... Say, take something like Hotel Rwanda, probably half, or even more, people before watching the film didn't even know where the country was, let alone the atrocities that took place there in 1994. If you want to be more up to date, think of Kite Runner and actually remember the inside story of Afghanistan, yes it comes with a lovely plot to it that makes it beautiful, but nothing that was shown in the film was really that far from reality. We seem to distance ourselves from culture and tie ourselves to the commercial in this consumerist age, but the film makers are playing a big part in our culture, whether they are creating the latest block buster or the low budget experiment. Many of us have been touched by a film like Gorillas in the mist, and that is an old timer in this fast paced world, but it clearly had a message, going far beyond culture and time, a message that all of us repeat now almost everyday. Had we cared so much about the environment, animal species becoming extinct or global warming, if the film makers had not told us to?

Many film-makers, put important messages in our heads, before the press get even round to it. We were told stories like never before, that were not always realistic but emotionally important, and that made us feel human again, all thanks to the great film makers that cared not only about the dollar bills covering their expenses, but also the culture and the message in the film.

The main job of the film makers is (or at least should be), making us aware of ourselves and the space around us. Go as far as touching the very core of the human soul, as well as, to tell us the story that we will remember twenty years down the line, because it was that important and it will never be outdated. Culture never goes out of fashion, it simply adapts to the times and the people that surround it, and more often than not, film makers are the people that lead rather than follow in the cultural sense of the moment.

So, what makes our culture? - Everything, and the film plays a great part in it. If you go to some cheap burger shop for lunch or a five star French restaurant, you chose the environment and the culture you're in, however this could be very exceptional with films, because more often than not, we chose the films according to the reviews rather than our personal opinions. Sometimes, we may watch something that we think is totally irrelevant to us, but then if it is anything worthy of our time, it will have a message for us there, regardless of our social status or background, it is there waiting to be found, like that culture that never goes out of fashion but simply changes its shape. We are in the media, super fast age, we have no time to eat properly or to sit down and read a book, and it is up for the film makers to feed our souls (or numb out the reality). They are in the business of making our culture, and the moment you will understand that, you will appreciate each and every film more, because the whole lot of them are playing the major part in this 21st century experiment called culture, and we always have to remember the people who participate in that experiment, because it's the people that make it possible, because without the human touch there would be no culture at all.

1 comment:

Lorri said...

What an excellent and thought-provoking post!

Hugs

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