This article appears in its entirety at Screen Machine.
Has there ever been another great art so persistently mis-apprehended? I refer not, of course, to Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises—which is by no measure great art, and by some measures bad art—but to the cinema itself. And I avoid the term misunderstood deliberately. It’s not that the cinema has not been understood, in some fashion; it’s that the terms on which it is grasped are so often the ones of least significance. So much of the contemporary dialogue around cinema—and especially around blockbuster events, like The Dark Knight Rises—is tuned to the wrong frequency.
An audience may ask any number of questions to decide the worth of a film. Is the narrative coherent? Are the characters believable? Do I find its politics acceptable? But a great deal of contemporary critical discourse tends to neglect those questions most fundamental to apprehending film; like, is this really cinema? Does this film instantiate, in some notable and compelling way, the qualities of cinema as art? The issue here is not one of enjoyment, but of understanding the fundamental criteria that delineates cinema as a unique art form.
The fact of the matter is: a bad movie can also be great cinema.
…continued at Screen Machine.