Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb…
Hayley Dixon writes for The Telegraph…
“Greg Dyke said it is ‘ridiculous’ that schools are lagging behind in a world dominated by film and television. The BFI is launching a £26 million film education programme which aims to reach every child in schools across Britain in four years.
‘People at the BFI argue all the time, and I think they’re right: isn’t it weird that we learn Shakespeare but we don’t learn Hitchcock?’ Mr Dyke, the former director general of the BBC, told the Times Education Supplement.
‘It seems ridiculous to us that in a world where the moving image is the major means of communication, schools seem a long way behind.’“
Read the full article here.
Immediately the comparison to Shakespeare is going to create frustration in readers and theatre-goers, but I do believe that Mr Dyke is correct with this comparison.
Cinema is a medium that only dates back to the late 1800s – and even then, it has only really managed to become a worldwide, artistic property within the last 100 years. Theatre and literature obviously date back thousands of years and so such a comparison is difficult at best.
Crucially, the current world is alive with video – especially as children record on their phones daily. The value of such access to art and creativity, I believe, is lost on these children as they have no clear understanding of the artistry behind cinema and filmmaking.
It seems that the only experience children have of cinema is the latest blockbuster release. Too often people will discuss the merits of a film that obsessively pays tribute to a genre. The latest example is Oblivion whereby the Tom Cruise led film seems to borrow from so many science fiction movies, it is easy to lose count: The Matrix, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Planet of the Apes, Independence Day, Alien… the list goes on and on. To a film-savvy viewer, these “nods” to classic staples of the genre can be jarring and frustrating – especially as Oblivion doesn’t seem to offer anything new in comparison to these films. A teenager who hasn’t seen The Matrix (it is almost 15 years old now!) may watch Oblivion and assume full credit belongs to Cruise and Joseph Kosinski – could this ignorance ensure financial success and sequels?
Cinema – like English, Art, Theatre, Dance and Music – has a wealth of history that has led to the filmmakers of today. Without an appreciation and awareness of this history – in a strange paraphrasing of a philosophical statement – filmmaking is doomed to repeat itself (Oblivion is a testament to that!). Add to this how Hollywood are only too keen to establish a property to “sequelise”, and we have a situation whereby remakes and sequels will continue to become successful – as most cinema-goers will watch a remake and sequel satisfied. Indeed, through a lack of appreciation of the history of the medium, they’ve never seen anything like it before.