Summer Love and First Arts Crushes.

Summer. A time to reflect on young love. If you're the New York Times, this means your first arts crush. Over the summer, the paper has been running a series on the moments that led people to dedicate themselves to a career in the arts.

Today's writing was on the visual arts. The discussions are sweet. Personally, I fell asleep watching Battleship Potemkin (replete with live piano player), but I can appreciate the sentiment that film is art. Growing up with films like Fantasia, there was something to the understanding that film was indeed art and visual art manifested itself in several different ways.

As an arts and media junkie, I was exposed to and consumed a great deal of visual arts even when I wasn't paying attention. And while I had respected films for their content, unless it was explicitly labelled art, I didn't pay much attention to the artistic elements until the awful Moulin Rouge. Moulin Rouge is one of those movies that should never have been made and definitely did not deserve the level of marketing it received. The plot made enough sense but the execution is awful. Nicole Kidman's voice wasn't strong. John Leguizamo was funny but absolutely ridiculous. And Roxanne never needs to be performed that dramatically. Perhaps its all these elements that makes the film great, but sitting in the theater and watching it, made my entire party laugh to the point of almost being reprimanded.  Lite FM on screen was not worth my high school 10 dollars.

The one thing I had to admit after watching it though, was its beauty. The cinematography - a word I don't think I used until that movie- was among the best I had seen up to that point. It was in this understanding that a beautiful movie didn't have to be good that I came to appreciate the complexities of a film and understand the various hats a director had to wear.

Later on I would learn more about mise-en-scene, establishing shots, color choices and frames, but at that time I knew and understood beauty. Beauty came from the costumes, from the aerial shots, from the dizzying moves through the film, from the single drop of blood on a corset. I also learned to separate my feelings when it came to critiquing a film and make admissions and concessions to art when justified.


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