Film criticism is the art of analyzing and evaluating films and the film medium. It can be done by professional critics, who work for newspapers, magazines, or television channels, or by amateur critics, who write blogs, post reviews, or make videos on the internet. Film criticism can also be done by anyone who loves cinema and wants to share their opinions, emotions, and impressions of a film with others.
But what makes a good film critic? What are the skills, knowledge, and criteria that a film critic needs to have? And how does online film criticism differ from traditional print or broadcast media? In this article, we will explore the role of taste and film theory and history in film criticism, and how online film critics need to balance them in their work.
The Role of Taste in Film Criticism
Taste is a subjective preference for certain types of films, genres, styles, or aesthetics. It is influenced by personal factors such as culture, education, mood, and experience. For example, some people may prefer comedy films over horror films, or realistic films over fantasy films. Taste can also be shaped by social factors such as trends, popularity, and peer pressure. For example, some people may watch a film because it is highly rated by critics or audiences, or because their friends or family recommend it.
Taste can be a useful tool for film criticism, as it can help critics to express their opinions, emotions, and impressions of a film. For example, a critic may say that they liked or disliked a film because it made them laugh or cry, or because it matched or clashed with their taste. Taste can also help critics to connect with their audience, who may share similar tastes or preferences. For example, a critic may attract followers who enjoy the same type of films as they do, or who trust their taste.
However, taste can also be a limitation for film criticism, as it can prevent critics from being open-minded, objective, or fair to films that do not match their taste. For example, a critic may dismiss or ignore a film because it belongs to a genre or style that they do not like, or because it challenges or contradicts their taste. Taste can also lead to bias, prejudice, or elitism. For example, a critic may favor or praise a film because it conforms to their taste, or because it appeals to their cultural or social group.
The Role of Film Theory and History in Film Criticism
Film theory and history are the academic disciplines that study the nature, history, and effects of films and the film medium. They provide critics with a framework of concepts, methods, and criteria to analyze and evaluate films. For example, film theory may help critics to understand the narrative structure, genre conventions, or thematic messages of a film. Film history may help critics to contextualize the historical, cultural, or artistic influences and developments that shape films and filmmakers.
Film theory and history can be a valuable resource for film criticism, as they can help critics to understand the meaning, purpose, and significance of a film. For example, a critic may explain how a film reflects or challenges the social norms, values, or ideologies of its time, or how it contributes to the evolution of the film medium. Film theory and history can also help critics to appreciate the artistic qualities, technical skills, and creative choices of a film. For example, a critic may comment on the cinematography, editing, sound, or performance of a film, or on the style, vision, or intention of the filmmaker.
However, film theory and history can also be a challenge for film criticism, as they can make critics too detached, abstract, or complex for their audience. For example, a critic may use too many technical terms, jargon, or references that their audience may not understand or relate to. Film theory and history can also make critics too rigid, dogmatic, or prescriptive. For example, a critic may judge a film based on fixed rules, standards, or expectations that their audience may not agree with or care about.
The Balance between Taste and Film Theory and History in Online Film Criticism
Online film criticism is a form of digital media that uses the internet as a platform to publish and distribute film reviews, essays, podcasts, videos, or blogs. It has many advantages over traditional media, such as accessibility, diversity, interactivity, and immediacy. Online film critics can reach a wider and more diverse audience than print or broadcast media. They can also interact with their audience through comments, feedback, or social media. Online film critics can also publish their work faster and more frequently than print or broadcast media.
However, online film criticism also has many challenges, such as credibility, quality, ethics, and sustainability. Online film critics may face more competition and criticism than print or broadcast media. They may also struggle to establish their reputation and authority in the crowded and noisy online space. Online film critics may also face more ethical dilemmas and legal issues than print or broadcast media. They may have to deal with plagiarism, copyright infringement, or defamation. Online film critics may also face more financial and technical difficulties than print or broadcast media. They may have to find ways to monetize their work and maintain their equipment and software.
Online film critics need to find a balance between taste and film theory and history in their work. They need to use their taste to engage their audience and express their personality, but they also need to use film theory and history to inform their audience and demonstrate their knowledge. They need to be both subjective and objective, both personal and professional, both passionate and critical.
Online film criticism is a dynamic and diverse field that offers many opportunities and challenges for film lovers. It is a form of art that requires both creativity and rigor, both intuition and logic, both taste and film theory and history.