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Max Field

Does a Filmmaker NEED to watch Citizen Kane in 2018?

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I totally understand not wanting to do stuff I don't like. I don't like crowds, so I don't go with the family to watch fireworks on the fourth of July. I figure I'm a grown man and I can choose not to do something I don't want to do.

 

What I don't understand is wanting to make movies, but not wanting to watch the movies that shaped modern movies. It's like being an architect who lives next door to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, but actively won't look at it. I don't understand how you wouldn't be curious.

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What I don't understand is wanting to make movies, but not wanting to watch the movies that shaped modern movies. It's like being an architect who lives next door to a Frank Lloyd Wright house, but actively not wanting to look at it. I don't understand how you wouldn't be curious.

Not sure what to tell you. I've been paid thousands to write for other people/companies but have only read 3 chapter books in my life.

I build by doing and researching people/society.

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If I'm honest, I have a hard time watching any of these new comic book movies. I've seen maybe a handful of them and I don't remember which ones. As soon as they get to one of the all CGI battles, I feel like I'm watching one of my kid's cartoon shows and I completely tune out.

 

So in that sense, I understand not wanting to watch something you find boring. Also, back when the movies we're talking about were made, the collective attention span wasn't nearly as short as it is today. So, movies were allowed to take their time setting everything up before really getting into the meat. Nowadays you really have to jump right into it and grab people before they have time to check their texts.

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I personally can't find most old movies engaging because the culture is too different and the pacing too slow.

It’s true that cultural expression changes with geography and time. Just go to your local bar at noon or 12 hours later at night, very different forms of expression. But movies are not about culture, they are about “the human condition” (at least 99% of them) which haven’t changed since the birth of cinema.

 

Peoples actions are basically driven by three things 1.Passion(procreation,hobbies,faith, self fulfillment/preservation…) 2.Power(money, status…) 3.Seemingly irrational acts (Zinedine Zidane world cup final head butt. Or writing over 1400 posts on a cinematography forum, when you don’t actually seem to love movies.)

Any action in a film can be boiled down to 1 of the 3 reasons above, or any action in life for that matter. (That is of course if one believes that free will exits over determinism, but that’s a whole other discussion.)

 

That’s why simple story structures like A wants B but C gets in the way, always works independent of location(I’m assuming you are not watching “foreign” films either) or time. For example:

 

1927 Silent film: 7th Heaven. Guy want’s girl but -- the first world war gets in the way.

2003 Animation: Finding Nemo. Father wants to save son but -- the big sea gets in the way.

2010 South Korea: The Yellow Sea. Guy want’s missing wife but – the mob gets in the way.

 

Film is like music something deeply human and universal, and it resonates across borders and time. Sure we all have different tastes and preferences, but you can always learn something no matter where or when the film was made, or if it was good or bad.

 

Like Stephen King says in his book on writing, if you want to be a writer, you only have to do two things, you have to READ and you have to WRITE. And if you want to be a writer/director the same goes for film making.

 

I just can’t comprehend why you want to make movies if you don’t want to watch them.

Edited by Alex Lindblom

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If I'm honest, I have a hard time watching any of these new comic book movies. I've seen maybe a handful of them and I don't remember which ones. As soon as they get to one of the all CGI battles, I feel like I'm watching one of my kid's cartoon shows and I completely tune out.

 

So in that sense, I understand not wanting to watch something you find boring. Also, back when the movies we're talking about were made, the collective attention span wasn't nearly as short as it is today. So, movies were allowed to take their time setting everything up before really getting into the meat. Nowadays you really have to jump right into it and grab people before they have time to check their texts.

I don't like the CGI fight movies either. But in the nowadays sense, if the old movies fall behind in the pacing expected today (and in the future), wouldn't taking too much from those hinder your ability to entertain in the newer markets moving forward?

 

The stuff I'm analyzing nowadays which leads to people going "wow that's fresh" is Vines, low budget trap music videos, and old MTV documentaries. Not classic films.

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movies are not about culture, they are about “the human condition” (at least 99% of them) which haven’t changed since the birth of cinema.

That 99% figure is completely inaccurate. Tons of motion pictures have leaned more on culture than general human condition. Robert Rodriguez and Spike Lee are 2 prominent directors who come to mind that have a heavy cultural focus.

 

I like watching movies I like (or that I feel like I would like when it comes to a new one) and finding the value/technique past the surface-level critiques of others in the past for said movies.

Is there not far more value in drawing your own conclusions/lessons from an underappreciated title as opposed to repeating the conclusions others have made on heavily-analyzed titles?

 

People tend to forget that this business is entertainment at the end of the day. Great entertainers find new angles.

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Macks,

 

It just so happens that Im showing Citizen Kane in 16mm at my house on this Sunday, July 15at 7pm and I hereby invite YOU to ATTEND!

 

Transportation to San Diego, CA not included.

 

Its true, I have it on an inter-library loan from out-of-state and Im inviting some friends and curious neighbors, etc.

 

So you should come watch and Ill proceed to browbeat you about why this film is so incredible!

 

Actually Ive no idea why any filmmaker would not find this film to be wildly entertaining, funny, interestingly- told- and the thing I appreciate most about it is, although the directing is pretty flashy and the camera calls attention to itself quite a bit, the story always justifies the technique used.

 

Whats not to like?

 

(David, Id love to read that Toland article).

 

Im surprised I havent been watching it every day Ive had it so far - to be honest.

 

P.s. Anyone on here who can make it here is invited. :)

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Whats not to like?

 

People for some reason go to the extreme and assume I've never seen it/find it has no merit.

 

I understand that it invented and implemented tons of cinematography techniques we still see today. That doesn't mean the screenplay isn't boring by today's standards. The big new "did it all" film is going to need a change if we want young guys 25 years from now getting enthusiastic about film theory.

I also admit it's not fair at all to compare Kane to some of my modern favorites due to a 60 year difference.

 

Evolution is evolution.

Edited by Macks Fiiod
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That doesn't mean the screenplay isn't boring by today's standards.

 

This is the crux of the problem with the point you seem to be trying to make. If what you care about is something that conforms to "today's standards" (whatever that means), that's fine. Just remember that 20 years from now, nobody will care about the work you do when "standards" have changed. It's a good idea to take a long view here.

 

When I was in art school (for film) in the early 90s, I had a conversation with a professor that really stuck with me. I was there because I wanted to be in Boston and I wanted to study film, but wasn't particularly interested in avant garde art films, so my mindset was somewhat rebellious from the get-go. Also, I was 20. I was making a ham-fisted argument about rapid cutting being the death of serious cinema or some similarly pretentious BS, and he basically shot me down and pointed to dozens of examples going back to the 20s that countered my argument. I went back and looked at those films and sure enough, he was right. (As an aside, I can't imagine how hard it is for film professors to deal with this with every year's crop of freshmen know-it-alls).

 

The bottom line is: It doesn't matter if it meets "today's standards," unless all you care about is commercial success. All of the history of film leads up to what we have now - it's a constantly evolving language. You may not like the pacing, or the style of acting, you may not be able to relate to the cultural references or the language, you might find black and white or silent film to be "boring" but skipping them to develop your own "original" style is just pure hubris. I find Birth of a Nation to be morally repugnant, but it's still worth watching. Ignore that history at your peril.

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The Citizen Kane screenplay is pretty modern non linear storytelling compared to many modern films, which are pretty straight forward in that respect. . .

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I find Birth of a Nation to be morally repugnant, but it's still worth watching.

...Yeah try telling that to someone in college today lmao.

 

The trend I've noticed is human beings tend to stick with one era of something they like, and if it is expanded it covers the ground backwards as opposed to forward. Like the studies on how once you turn 35, entirely new music will begin losing its appeal for you and sound like "garbage", but music before that remains fine.

 

For me, the crossroads I find myself at is "film buffs/historians" saying they're open to all titles, but in reality it's all titles as long as they came out before their birth. To say the merit of titles in the 90's/00's doesn't match the titles of the 40's-50's (because we know that argument has been made) seems like a willful blinding of film evolution, but in the opposite direction.

 

I've yet to see a guy talk up Citizen Kane and then in the same lecture talk up Clueless. Both of which had an impact on what we see today in commercial filmmaking.

Edited by Macks Fiiod

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once you turn 35, entirely new music will begin losing its appeal for you and sound like "garbage", but music before that remains fine.

 

25.

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For all it's amazing cinematography (and it is astounding) the sound track is the key to Citizen Kane.

 

Kane is THE first modern sound-era film, period.

 

I have seen Kane more times than I care to count and am always amazed by the track.

 

It's very fashionable to denigrate Kane now; so much the poorer you are if you can't see the value in this pioneering effort.

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To be completely honest... cinema is born from photography which is born from painting.

 

So idk about all this Citizen Kane stuff, I can only look, appreciate, and have the mental capacity to be entertained by and draw inspiration from prehistoric cave drawings. No one else my age or age range has the same taste as me and only I can make original pizza flavors that explode with CGI taste.

 

You all ever seen't Blade Runner?

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Wasn't Citizen Kane actually about Donald Trump.. ?

Take your politics to the off topic threa-- oh wait.

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Take your politics to the off topic threa-- oh wait.

 

 

And we all know what "Rosebud" is a reference to.. I do cos I went to film school..

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And we all know what "Rosebud" is a reference to.. I do cos I went to film school..

It was the sled, right? I fell asleep when the puzzle doing wife was complaining about her loveless marriage. Like I could hear this from my own mom at home why am I watching a movie about it?

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It was the sled, right? I fell asleep when the puzzle doing wife was complaining about her loveless marriage. Like I could hear this from my own mom at home why am I watching a movie about it?

 

 

No sir.. rumor has it as a subtle dig at William Randolph Hearst.. as it was his pet name for his girlfriends clitoris ..think about it.. :) which made Hearst go ballistic with rage apparently ..

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Like I could hear this from my own mom at home why am I watching a movie about it?

 

Many dramas (film & TV) are a reflection of real life, Kane is a pretty stylised take on a certain man's life. There is a surprising amount of humour in it.

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Many dramas (film & TV) are a reflection of real life, Kane is a pretty stylised take on a certain man's life. There is a surprising amount of humour in it.

 

Ken Loach has knocked out quite a few good films reflecting on real life..

Edited by Robin R Probyn

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Ken Loach has knocked out quite a few good films reflecting on real life..

Bit lefty for me, but I was offered his 35mm. pic-sync for £1 a while back. Couldn't take it as I already had a 16mm. one to carry.

On the bus home it fascinated a film student.

Edited by Mark Dunn

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This may be a discussion for a different thread, but would it be crucial for a filmmaker to figure out the seed for their own style before flipping through tons of movies for analysis?

 

Any aspiring filmmaker has likely already seen a ton of films, with the images from many of them burned into their memories. When they're starting to make films they might be unconsciously copying certain things from their favorite films. That's common in any field. Music, painting, etc. Developing a unique style takes time, and builds on previous work anyways. It's not built in a vacuum, and there's nothing wrong with watching films for inspiration. It's rare that any filmmaker of note has no discernable creative lineage.

 

"Citizen Kane" has been a major touchstone film for a long time, and I absolutely think it's still worth studying. Perhaps in in a few years or a few decades another film will become the "Citizen Kane" of it's time.

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