Tonight’s assignment is to define Aristotle’s techne in a way that is relatable to my field. Cinema is that such field. The craftsmanship of cinema is difficult to establish because film is a relatively new art form that is evolving rapidly. In its most basic form it is an audiovisual media. On a higher plateau it can be social commentary, a form of escapism, a produced commodity, pure entertainment, a release, a sermon, a teacher or a window to lost or future worlds.
My specific techne is developing a critical analysis of film theory. This is to say I study academic writings of film so that I can make connections between films, audiences, and other disciplines film may extend itself to.
I have been developing this craft since I was very young. My favorite movie is The Princess Bride.
For me this film embodies everything that I love about film. It has action, adventure, true love and quick wit. I studied this film religiously; I analyzed the script, the sets, the themes, the stunts-anything I could to be closer to the film. I developed a decent cinema knowledge by the time I was in high school.
In high school I began to make films that and learned the physical craft of film. I grabbed a camera and made my first film which was music video for the classic Ramones hit “California Sun.” It was then that I decided I wanted to study film for life. Upon entering college my whole perception of the craft change. I was shown a completely different world of filmmaking. I was introduced to films without happy endings, producers that went bankrupt, and films that changed the perception of a whole society.
The first theory that a professor used to explain film was Plato’s Allegory of the Cave.
For the unfamiliar, in a cinematic context, the allegory explores film as a shadow world. The prisoners in the cave are likened to the theater audience: they see the film and can not accept the outside world as reality or they do accept reality but feel the need to take part in an imitation.
This does not seem to bother some as famous French Filmmaker, Jean-Luc Godard, once described cinema as
“THE MOST BEAUTIFUL FRAUD IN THE WORLD
An early critic (1896), Maxim Gorky, was horrified by cinema calling it the
“Kingdom of Shadows.”
He predicted that cinema would become voyeristic and allow people to see things they should not.
Since Gorky many scholars have debated what film should and could be and what it is currently. Jim Morrison disagrees with Gorky entirely saying that the very “Appeal of cinema lies in the fear of death.” Thus he sees cinema as a way to preserve the self. The cinema is not for one person to define. To practice this craft one must have a deep love and appreciation of film. My craft is to study the critical film essays that helped to further define cinema and more importantly form my own conclusions about what film is and how it will evolve.