Following on from part two of our interview with Writer & Director Ben Woodiwiss, and hearing his professional opinion and experience of cinematic criticism first hand, we feel it’s best to get down to a core theme of our argument, and add reverb to a few of the insights Ben has kindly touched upon.
It is understood that film is an expanding and broad medium with limitless horizons, however, as Ben noted, these horizons don’t simply include “the literary” as he appropriately described. Instead, film is a collective teamwork between a vast number of forms that come together to produce an end result. We have to agree with Ben on his approach to film criticism in extending to the future, where it would be a positive improvement to see critics and filmic opinion step away and reimagine their opinions or criticisms on a much broader and inclusive way as opposed to a sole focus on the literary narrative or character. Then again, how do cinematic criticisms discuss feeling? If critics were to succeed in including their emotional reaction, would this be a fair judgement considering the limited source by which is commenting? It would be a step in the right direction if this all-inclusive view of all artistic elements of film involved the emotional reaction of you, the majority audience. After all, isn’t emotion an artwork of human reaction?
Ben recalled: “…every comment I hear from either an audience member, or a critic, is valid. And you don’t have to be a professional critic to have an insight that has value.” Here, it is obvious to note that industry professionals such as Ben Woodiwiss accept, react and consider the opinion of the citizen, so why doesn’t society as a whole recognise it as just as important as the opinion of the professional critic? It appears that within modern society and through a derivative of Ben’s argument, it could be concluded that the audience perhaps shares a sense of realism and unhindered emotional reaction to the art of cinema that critics have failed to adopt, such as in Ben’s engagement with audience members after a screening of their latest short film Look at Me Now. Whereas, on the other hand, Ben has begun to describe a narrative and literary driven critic that lies on the seemingly bland opinionated spectrum. In this case, if there is a divide in opinion perspective between citizens and critics, perhaps it is accurate to suggest as we have before that the most efficient and just system of judgement for the cinematic industry is to adapt to a conglomeration of both citizen and critic opinion.
We here at Band Wagon hence urge you not to jump on the bandwagon of the literary approach that modern critics appear to have, and let yourself feel, react and express your own emotion toward the narrative or artworks that appear on screen. You might find you either disagree, agree or are impartial to another’s judgement, rather than tyrannically ruled and justified by it. Moving forward into the unforeseen future of film criticism, it’s time for you to drive your own opinion. With the recent death of review website The Dissolve and henceforth the precarious state of long-form film criticism due to its shift to numerical statistics on well-known aggregators, it is your opinion that will comprise today’s definition of film criticism. And, as noted previously, it is a state of film criticism that professionals such as Ben Woodiwiss appear to be conceptually happy with.
Click next to continue into the final part of our trilogy with Ben Woodiwiss!