Tuesday, May 02, 2006

A problem with controversial filmmaking

Fahrenheit 9/11, The Passion of the Christ, Brokeback Mountain, and now United 93 seem to signify a trend towards movies that you have a hard time believing anyone supported financially in the first place and then somehow become successful in the mainstream. These movies gain some kind of arthouse status out of political controversy despite being fairly conventional and not artistically progressive. In fact, these movies get by specifically by being traditional and inoffensive in the face of controversy. Their tone so often seems to scream out, "How could you possibly find me offensive?" They also get to present themselves as though they were edgy, counterculture movies purely on the basis of their political angle. The problem, I think, is that the arthouse film crowd has been displaced by this trend. They're told that these are the innovative films of the day and are sent off to movies that are no more progressive than the average Hollywood drama. If the trend continues, there might be no arthouse crowd left; they'll be suckered into being an audience for the artistically conventional but politically controversial.


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