OK, so here is my theory.

“Movies” are those things that run for about two hours. Their chief purpose is to make lots of money for the people who make them. At the same time, they hope that they might manage to tell some kind of worthwhile story.

“Cinema” are those pieces of art that run for about two hours. When someone makes a piece of cinematic art, their intention is usually to share a story. At the same time, they are usually hoping that their piece of cinema also makes some money. (Of course, in a modern world where everything has to be economically rationalised, this kind of cinema is becoming rarer. Usually it is only the talented, famous, or established who have the chance to go for “cinematic art” because they are likely to have an “economic guarantee” because of their name. )

Do you have examples of each? What movies do you think manage to achieve being both?



8 thoughts on “Movies

  1. I’ve seen some pretty cool short films i’d class as cinema… can’t think of a full length movie but i will… doubt at 2am this morning – thank you TIM 😛

  2. When I think about cinematic art, I think of what would be called “art house” movies – movies like “Jesus of Montreal” – a beautiful film, with a powerful message, but also, probably not a film that is going to attract great popular status. Increasingly, though, some of the animated “children’s” movies, whilst perhaps not in the same catergory, and certainly more popular, are increasingly telling a powerful story. I loved “Kung Fu Panda” – the story of the one least likely. I would like to think that “story” is becoming more important – and this is a good thing.

  3. Your descriptions of ‘movies’ and ‘cinema’ make sense to me. Nicely put. Examples of movies that achieve both I think are: Vanilla Sky (much derided, but I enjoyed it), Trainspotting, Moulin Rouge, Lost In Translation plus pretty much anything by Tim Burton.

    However, I think ‘cinema’ is still – for the most part – not reserved for the big name movie star who wants to indulge themselves in a bit of ‘art’. Most ‘cinema’ doesn’t feature the big names at all (look at the plethora of contemporary European ‘cinema’ that exists, with not a single Hollywood star in sight).

    I also think that, when a famous Hollywood actor does venture into ‘cinema’, this should be applauded (rather than treated with suspicion). Far too many big names are happy to play it safe and never challenge themselves. The likes of Johnny Depp and Ewan McGregor prove that you can be an ‘A grader’ and still do something ‘out of the box’. All power to them I say.

  4. I’ve found that foreign films like “The Weeping Camel” and “The Cave of the Yellow Dog”, or Australian films like “Romulus, My Father” are examples of cinematic art that tells a story. Consumer based hype movies like “Shrek”, and “Toy Story” are prime examples (I could go on) where the merchandising has probably made more than the movie itself does at the box office. Sure, they’re an entertaining way to use up an hour or two, but they’re hardly as captivating visually or in the story-telling as the aforementioned films.

  5. I tend to make the distinction between smart films and blockbusters. I’m not usually interested in seeing blockbusters, though occasionally a popular film will please me. I love Love Actually for example. My favourite film is Gosford Park and I also love Lost in Translation, both intelligent (and a bit indulgent in the case of Lost in Translation) films. I also love The Fifth Element. Eclectic taste?

  6. Don’t like blockbusters much, tend to very much enjoy foreign films… (helps to have World Movies on AUSTAR) – having said that, do also love the English “Country House” type of movie. I like a movie that makes me think about it when it’s finished, not particularly tie everything up in such a way that leaves nothing to the imagination.

    In other news, am missing Pumpkin, though loving helping with Henry and Georgiana. XXXXXX

  7. can I comment on Toy Story 3, yes I am a big kid, but so were the other 50 people in the 3D screening of this film when I saw it.
    The technology applied, the continuity of the charecters, the basic story and the side themes, the emotion, all these things made this a great film. And because it’s animation surely all that colouring in makes it art!!!

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