Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Modern Movies and an Ancient Critic

    Frederick Copleston, in his exposition of Aristotle's theory of Aesthetics, makes an interesting comment which is all too applicable to modern films.

    He says,

   "The getting-up of the mise en scène is 'more a matter for the costumier than for the poet.' It is a pity that Aristotle's words on this matter have not been heeded in later times. Elaborate scenery and spectacular effect are poor substitutes for plot and character-drawing."[1]

    It is an unfortunate fact that many, if not most, modern films put more emphasis on the visual effects then on the plot and the development of character. It is, perhaps, a sign of the moral and intellectual depravity of our age, that people in general are seeking bigger and flashier, rather than artistic and moral excellence, both in the message of the art and in the presentation of the art.

[1]Frederick Copleston, Greece & Rome, part 2, in A History of Philosophy (1946; repr., Garden City, NY: Image Books, 1962), 1:106.