No Future for a Cinema with Brains?

L\'Avventura

A post to point you towards an important discussion: The idiosyncratic film blogger/indie distributor Filmbrain raised a legitimate worry this past Friday, in the post “Brains Not Required (Or: Whither Subtlety?)“, leded by an Antonioni-quote:

“I want the audience to work. I ask them to see the film from the beginning and devote their full attention to it, treating it with the same respect they would give a painting, a symphony or any other work of art. I treat them with the same respect by inviting them to search for their own meanings instead of insulting their intelligence with obvious explanations.”
— Michelangelo Antonioni

Are today’s filmmakers spoon-feeding their audiences? Mainstream Hollywood fare most certainly is, but are independent films and foreign specialty fare also more and more letting their audience off the hook too easily? Filmbrain reflects on the negative response from critics in 1961 to Antonioni’s masterpiece L’Avventura, and uses two recently released feature films in US theatres to illustrate his point:

Today all but the shabbiest of critics are unafraid to confront the “obscure”, and you’re more likely to find passionate defenses of a challenging work rather than flippant dismissals such as Crowther’s. Yet how often are today’s critics (and filmgoers for that matter) given the opportunity to use their noggins once the lights go down? Are filmmakers living up to their half of the bargain, treating us with respect as expressed in the second half of Antonioni’s statement?

I recommend you to read all of Filmbrain’s musings, and do not quit reading until you’re through the comments. That is where the discussion is to be found.

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