The New York Latino Film Festival ran a humorous, albeit snarky, advertising campaign a couple of months back. Its posters featured graphical representations comparing the clichés found in two types of narrative cinema: FILMS, those done for flash, and MOVIES, those done for cash.
“Watch films, not movies. There is a difference,” runs each posters tagline, the festival’s motto. It’s a refreshing proposal - don’t clutter your mind with special effects laden blockbusters, or overly sentimental romantic comedies; watch a film instead, something that will engage the mind.
But a pretension hides beneath. Films, as they’re described here, are presumed as inherently superior to their movie counterparts.
Take an extreme example, with The Tree of Life representing films, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine encapsulating movies. The former is a majestic, director-driven musing on, amongst other things, the development of morality; the latter details a man with Adam-Ant-ium claws ripping apart helicopters, people and other various objects. There is little contest, like a mentally impaired shrew being punted into oblivion by the gigantic, steel-capped boot of philosophy.
But then consider another pairing, of last year’s slow-paced, Mexican cannibal horror We Are What We Are for films against Top Gun for movies. The film drags and occasionally buckles under the weight of the social message it attempts to address. The movie, however, strives for nothing of the sort, and succeeds tremendously in character, narrative and moustaches. The film is not always mightier than the movie, and such a dynamic should never be assumed in the first place.
Here at Flickering Myth, we value movies as much as we do films. We’re the product of Ghostbusters double bills and academic Film Studies. We believe it possible to enjoy both Star Wars and La Règle du Jeu equally, though maybe in different capacities. Simply put, we love cinema, in both its commercial and intellectual pursuits.
So that’s why we’re instilling a standardised reviewing system for the site. Currently, we’re a bit all over the place. Some out of five, some out of ten, some choose to abstain altogether. But now we’re daring to try something unique: two ratings for any film reviewed, both out of five, one for film, for how it works as intellectual fare, and one for movie, surmising how it performs on narrative, enjoyment levels.
If that’s confusing, here are a few examples:
Transformers: Dark of the Moon - Film * / Movie ***
The Tree of Life - Film **** / Movie *
Rocky - Film **** / Movie *****
Although these scores should not be considered as an overall ‘out-of-ten’, you’ll notice how Rocky is close to a perfect score. If the cinema is our new church, then a work achieving the full ten could indeed be considered our Holy Grail (as unfortunately demonstrated by the popcorn sign on another New York Latino Film Festival poster below).
There is, of course, neither a right nor wrong answer, but Flickering Myth offers itself to you as a forum to state your case, and debate those of others...