The early era of cinematography was shaped by striving to achieve success in terms of creating masterpieces that are unique and precious. However, gradually, the primary priorities of creators involved in the film industry have shifted in favor of material profit. The contemporary cinematography is most known not for its immense contribution to the development of culture and arts but for the extensive sums of money that rotate inside of it.
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Film festivals and awards have become the tools used for effective marketing. Winning such an award as the Oscar is not only about prestige, it gives huge financial profits1. The modern cinematography is heavily influenced by awards and festivals industry. Some of the movies depict this situation and reveal the hidden side of the film industry in a unique manner. The analysis and comparison of the movies “For Your Consideration” and “All the Love You Cannes” will help to reveal how the films explore the specifics of the process of modern filmmaking and the roles film festivals, and awards play in the modern film industry.
“For Your Consideration”
“For Your Consideration” (2006) is a movie revealing the hidden side of modern cinematography2. The comedy directed by Christopher Guest depicts a story about the actors starring in a low-budget film that, according to some rumors, is supposed to become a subject of award-season buzz. The title of the movie reflects the phrase used in advertisements to promote films for honors. The reception of the movie was two-fold, as nearly half of critics reviewed it positively. Catherine O’Hara, starring in the movie, received many good reviews and was nominated for several awards.
The process of filmmaking is largely explored in the movie, as its plot is mostly related to the creation of the film-within-a-film. The director, the film-within-a-film seems to be more obsessed with adding extravagant camera shots than on making the film full of meaning. The producer focuses on her bizarre appearance instead of exploring how to contribute to the film’s success. The actors involved in filmmaking do not possess significant skills or talents, but after the rumor about the nomination for the Oscar is spread, they start behaving like real stars. They are obsessed with finding a way to ensure their nomination much more than with mastering their acting in the film. The process of filmmaking depicted in the movie appears to reveal the negative side of contemporary low-cost cinematography.
Besides revealing the specifics of filmmaking, the movie reflects the common features of the whole film industry. It satirizes modern cinematography and demonstrates that striving for receiving awards often substitute striving for providing a high-quality performance. The movie shows that press appearances and other methods of PR management receive much more attention that the film-within-a-film itself. Putting more effort into the promotion of the film than in the process of its creation is the feature of the modern film industry that is caricatured in the movie. By satirizing modern filmmaking, the movie demonstrates that film awards are business models or the models of “cultural prize as trademarked property” serving as a “publicity vehicle” and lucrative media franchise3.
“All the Love You Cannes”
“All the Love You Cannes” (2002) is a documentary about the way Troma studios attempt to popularize its production at the Cannes film festival4. The movie was directed by Lloyd Kaufman, Sean McGrath, and Gabriel Fridman. The film earned controversial reviews due to the extensive amount of scenes with naked people and inappropriate language.
The process of filmmaking presented in the movie differs a lot from everything the ordinary viewers are used to think about it. The movie demonstrates the specifics of indie cinema and gives a wholly new independent view on filmmaking. Most of the movie is filmed with the help of a low-cost video camera without using any special equipment for creating high-quality shots. The cast consists of Lloyd Kaufman and the fans of Troma, who came to promote their favorite film studio at the festival. The plot has an unusual narrative structure as it is a real-time video recording of everything happening with the heroes during their trip to Cannes. The filmmaking depicted in the movie can be characterized as unusual, extremely extravagant, and shocking. It opposes conventional filmmaking.
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The film industry is presented in the movie as highly commercialized and profit-motivated. The movie reveals the specifics of film promotion by including scenes of the attempts to contact media conglomerates and big-time movie executives. The movie industry is presented as a business governed by certain rules and aimed at achieving pecuniary goals. It is the business ‘of selling art and culture” that values good management more than films’ artistic quality5. The film demonstrates the hidden side of film festivals, which are promoted like the contributors to the development of cinematography and, in fact, serve for purely commercial purposes. The movie shows the Cannes film festivals as the place used by filmmakers for selling their products to theaters and video markets all over the world.
While both of the movies show the hidden side of the modern film industry and the way it is influenced by awards and festivals, each of them has its distinctive features related to the specifics of the themes, the cast, the crew, plot, style, and methods of revealing the vital problems.
The theme of the first movie is the obsession with awards typical for modern filmmakers and actors, while the theme of the second movie is the financial side of big film festivals (on the example of the Cannes film festival). In fact, both of the movies explore how global cinematography is affected by the extensive awards and festival business.
The cast and crew of “For Your Consideration” consist of professional actors, directors, and producers, while “All the Love You Cannes” can be considered as an example of amateur video.
The plot of “For Your Consideration” is based on demonstrating how the life and behavior of actors starring in the film-within-a-film change after learning about the possibility of being nominated for the Oscar. The heroes do not realize how much obsession with awards affects their life and professional goals. On the contrary, the plot of “All the Love You Cannes” depicts the story about the heroes who clearly understand the commercial goals of the film industry and pragmatically attempt to become the part of business earning huge revenues.
The style of narration in “For Your Consideration” has the main features of traditional comedy typical of New Hollywood cinema. It is bounded by certain social and cinematographic norms and standards. The narrative structure follows the classical three-act rule. The flow of actions is logic and causal-motivated. The movie presents an example of an ordinary comedy. On the contrary, “All the Love You Cannes,” as an example of Indie cinema, violates all standards and is full of indecent scenes and rude language. It does not follow classic rules and present a unique and unprecedented example of a documentary.
The methods of exploring the major problems in the movies also differ. While the first movie satirizes the film industry, the second one simply reflects reality in a shocking and bizarre manner. The aim of the first movie is to caricature modern cinematography and provoke the viewer to discover its negative sides. The main aim of the second movie is to shock the viewer by revealing the reality of the festival. Though the methods of depicting the commercializing of the film industry are different in each of the movies, their main aims are similar.
The analysis of the depiction of filmmaking and film industry in “For Your Consideration” and “All the Love You Canes” reveals that the movies have numerous differences in the style and methods of exploring the main issues. However, both of the movies strive to demonstrate the negative effects of domination of film awards and the festivals industry in modern cinematography.
All the Love You Cannes. Directed by Lloyd Kaufman, Sean McGrath, and Gabriel Fridman. 2002. New York: Troma Entertainment, 2010. DVD.
English, James. Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005.
For Your Consideration. Directed by Christopher Guest. 2006. Los Angeles, CA: Warners Independent Pictures, 2010. DVD.
Kernan, Lisa. “Hollywood on the Head of a Pin: Montage and Marketing at the Oscars.” Mediascape. Last modified 2009. Web.
Wong, Cindy Hing-Yuk. Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011.
- Lisa Kernan, “Hollywood on the Head of a Pin: Montage and Marketing at the Oscars,” Mediascape, last modified 2009. Web.
- For Your Consideration, directed by Christopher Guest (2006; Los Angeles, CA: Warner Independent Pictures, 2010), DVD.
- James English, Prizes, Awards, and the Circulation of Cultural Value (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2005), 84.
- All the Love You Cannes, directed by Lloyd Kaufman, Sean McGrath, and Gabriel Fridman (2002; New York: Troma Entertainment, 2010), DVD.
- Cindy Hing-Yuk Wong, Film Festivals: Culture, People, and Power on the Global Screen (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2011), 143.