The dementia13 Manifesto
dementia13.net is based on the following principles:
- Film can exist simply as entertainment, but great film is also art. Many films that are commonly thought of as mere entertainment also have artistic value, sometimes a lot of it.
- The corollary is also true: there are a lot of naked emperors gathering praise for the beautiful clothes they wear.
- "Artistic value", to us, means an attempt to make some kind of statement or to inspire an emotional response. Successful art lets one person see the world through another's eyes.
- We're all about movies that have something to say, not light escapism.
- The size of the production budget has nothing to do with whether a film has artistic value. Budget constraints often require directors to find creative ways to get the job done, and may inspire their best work. High-budget Hollywood productions are made as a financial investment, not as an artistic vision. They are subjected to focus groups, test audiences and executive pressures, all designed to maximize their market value. Groundbreaking, innovative works are almost always independent productions.
- There is no reason why lowbrow content should be considered to have less artistic worth. It's all part of life, and it's all fair game.
- If you want a moral, read the Bible. We're adults, and by now you shouldn't need a movie to be your moral guide. If you expect that from books and film, think about how dangerous it is to let people you've never met influence your thought process. And if your concern is with what effect it's going to have on other people, mind your own business and get off your high horse. Many of these films have people like you as their villains.
- There are many ways to tell a story. There's no reason a story can't be told through metaphor or symbolism, in reverse like Memento, or in oblique fashion, such as David Lynch films in which we have to piece the story together from the lunatic delusions we're given. Far be it from us to place arbitrary restrictions on the filmmakers.
- A film is obviously a work of fiction. Even biographies of real people have fictional elements. There's no reason why a work of fiction needs to obey the laws of real life, and if it doesn't, it may be because there's a metaphor involved. That's why there's such a term as "artistic license": the filmmaker has a story they want to tell, and it's OK to bend reality to make a point. Stories that are too faithful to reality can get boring.
- "Everything is a metaphor"- Umberto Eco. There's often a lot more to the story than what appears on the surface. Recognizing the deeper messages is not a matter of analyzing or "reading message into" movies, it's a matter of recognizing signs, like learning a new language. Once the language is learned, these signals become very obvious. It is laughable how many people who are paid to write movie reviews lack this basic skill.
- Movies don't come just from Hollywood. Great works come from all over the globe. France and South Korea are two countries whose film industry has been especially vital in recent years.
- Great movies are still made. There's no cut-off date where they started to be good, or where they stopped being good. If you think they're no good anymore, stop listening to Hollywood and look at what the internationals and independents are doing. Or stop getting older. You think no great movies were made before 1970, or some other arbitrary year? Remove head from hind end. Open eyes. Grow up.
- Dubbing is the devil. Films are often dubbed by actors with little or no experience. Viewers go away thinking that the movie sucked, but they never saw the film the way it was intended to be seen. Reading subtitles is not so bad.