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Is some of the best "cinema" on TV?

 
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Michael Scrutchin
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Joined: 26 Jun 2003
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PostPosted: 02.02.2007 4:14 am    Post subject: Is some of the best "cinema" on TV? Reply with quote

This quote in the Jan/Feb '07 issue of Film Comment caught my eye:



Quote:
"I'm a great consumer of Wong Kar Wai, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Arnaud Desplechin, and David Lynch, but above all I hope there's something of the influence [in Private Fears in Public Places] of Kim Manners. He directed some 50 episodes of The X Files, and the virtuosity of his shot-breakdown technique and of his mise-en-scene, and the way in which he treated actors' performances, all of it impressed me. He's the best of the best. I'm not an expert in television series, but in Millennium, The Shield, The Sopranos, 24, and others, I find the cinematic syntax more rich and inventive than in the majority of cinema."

--Alain Resnais, in the November 2006 Positif




TV has traditionally been seen as the writers' medium, with the director simply a hired technician who isn't allowed much in the way of creative freedom or cinematic invention. Has this changed? If so, when did it change? I haven't been a TV watcher in over seven years, so I really don't know where it's gone since The X Files, which was one of the most cinematic TV shows ever up to its time (I regret that I lost track of it during the last few seasons). Do any of you find any current TV shows more cinematically satisfying than most movies?



And what does "cinematic" mean anyway? What makes something more cinematic than something else?
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Danny Baldwin
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PostPosted: 02.02.2007 5:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that "24", in all of its ridiculousness, is coming together to be one of the most powerful and relevant social commentaries ever.



And most episodes of the American "Office" certainly make me laugh more than any film released in 2006.



So, yeah, I'd say there's some good TV that conveys equally potent themes as the film industry. I'm not so sure I'm into comparing the two, though, as their concepts of linear progression are entirely different. In my mind, a video-game and a movie could be just as easily compared. As a result, I think the term "cinematic," in this case, is irrelevant.
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.02.2007 1:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Danny Baldwin wrote:
I'm not so sure I'm into comparing the two, though, as their concepts of linear progression are entirely different. In my mind, a video-game and a movie could be just as easily compared. As a result, I think the term "cinematic," in this case, is irrelevant.


I don't really buy this distinction. It's far easier to compare "24" to a Hollywood action pic than, say, to compare United 93 to a Brakhage film. Point is, "cinema" encompasses a vast variety of narrative and linear concepts, and to say one form belongs exclusively to TV and another to movies is to ignore an awful lot of cinema.
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Mark Dujsik
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PostPosted: 02.03.2007 6:22 am    Post subject: Re: Is some of the best "cinema" on TV? Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:


TV has traditionally been seen as the writers' medium, with the director simply a hired technician who isn't allowed much in the way of creative freedom or cinematic invention.




Your statement also hints to a different point; probably one for another discussion.



Isn't it odd film criticism has almost entirely accepted auteur theory as a given?
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beltmann
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PostPosted: 02.03.2007 1:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Is some of the best "cinema" on TV? Reply with quote

Michael Scrutchin wrote:
Do any of you find any current TV shows more cinematically satisfying than most movies?


Friday Night Lights, which has a color and editing texture unlike any other TV show I've ever seen.
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pokernut951
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PostPosted: 02.17.2007 6:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know if it's the Dark tone but 'Heroes' has some very good cinematic qualities in it. I wouldn't say it compares to X-files but it's close.



I do miss the X-files, very badly.
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