22 octobre 2012

Artfilm Visibility (Festivals)

Mistaking the festival circuit (pre-commercial showroom for professionals) with the regular commercial distribution (in arthouses or multiplexes with several shows a day, 7 days a week)

There are too many movie reviewer smartasses who believe that the festival circuit has become the viable alternative to artfilm distribution... (especially in the pages of Sight & SoundFilm Comment or the NYT! But Kristin Thompson also professes such agenda). They are in total denial about the derelict state of the arthouse circuit in their respective country, fatalistic about the immuable situation (the arthouse circuit represents less than 1% of all ticket sales and it is humanly impossible to do any better than that, ever), and imagine that with the sprawling development of more and more mini second-hand festivals the future of artfilms is brighter than ever. Well I'm sorry to say, but this is demented!

The above chart shows the number of seats made available for a given film, according to the size of its distribution, and compared with the equivalent in festival screenings.

A few remarks first. These numbers indicate the maximal number of seats offered to the public (in normal commercial exhibition) for one film projected in theatre on an invariant number of screen(s), which implies that the theatre(s) function at full capacity on a period of 2 months. They are compared with an hypothetical run of the same film on the festival circuit, assuming that film gets picked up by a new festival every week of that period (which is wishful thinking).
I used rough numbers, just to get a ballpark idea of the huge gap that widens every week depending on the range of distribution proposed. 
Thus for a festival screening I used an average of 500 seats per screening, counting 2 screenings per festivals (the major festivals may give certain films an auditorium of up to 3000 seats twice, but smaller festivals will only open a 100 seaters once). Festivals are attended by an avid crowd so we may assume that every screening is fully booked (which is not the case for every title though).
For the arthouse circuit I opted for a typical arthouse with an average of 200 seats (which may vary depending on the location in a megapole or in low density urban area), and an average of 5 shows a day, 7 days a week. Assuming that the title runs for 8 weeks in a row (which is extremely rare for an artfilm, which is usually dropped after the second week). When a film takes a long time to be picked up by a distributor, and only opens on a handful of theatres, the potential audience is anticiating and rushes in, knowing the occassion to see it on the big screen will not happen again soon, so we may assume a fully booked theatre for the first week at least. Then the attendance dwindles down over the 2 months period (and few films manage to stay on that long in the real world!). This is just a rough simulation. The average filling of seats is usually 15% in France, maybe a little more in the USA, scarcity of screenings making potential viewers more eager, and the general attendance rate per capita (5 films per year per inhabitant, however less than 1% of the screens nationwide are arthouses, so the rate is mostly inflated by the high attendance of multiplex goers) is also higher than in France (3 films per year per inhabitant).
As a comparative, I've also added the typical distribution in multiplexes for a mainstream movie, from 1000 screens for commercial movie with low expectations and up to 4000 screens for a tentpole blockbuster. A multiplex offers bigger auditorium, so I counted an average of 300 seats, and more shows per day (6). The attendance in a multiplex is expected to be fully booked for the opening weekend (4 days) even with such a plethoric number of venues, and shall dwindle down also, but probably at a slower rate than in the arthouse circuit. So the average filling of seats over 2 months is higher (around 30% I believe).

This distribution system corresponds to a market like the USA, with a commercial exhibition that ranges from 1 screening once for an unpopular artfilm, up to 4000 screens nationwide (10% of all screens available) per week for a blockbuster. In France the scale is somewhere between 5 or 7 times smaller, the blockbuster status starts at 800 screens nationwide.

You can see that a small arthouse (1 screen/200 seats/5 shows a day) can match a festival venue (1 screen/500 seats) in only 1 day, in one week that single arthouse shows that film to as many spectators as 7 festivals, while a film can hardly show in more than 1 festival per week. In 2 weeks, before being ousted out by an impatient theatre programmer, it matches up to a run in 14 festivals, and this is a shameful distribution to open a film on only 1 screen nationwide, it should never happen (unless it is an extremely inaccessible piece of experimental cinema only targeted at gallery visitors). In an hypothetical run of 2 months, this dreadful distribution corresponds to a run in 56 festivals, which is more than what the average artfilm would hope to be invited to (excepting the few festival darlings that every festival wants to line up).
Only 1 miserable screen for an entire country (be it Luxembourg or the USA) is absolutely dreadful and an insult to cinema, no matter how bad the film is, every film should be given a decent chance to meet an audience, and this is obviously not the way.

With a release on 6 screens nationwide (still a dreary distribution, even for a bad artfilm), at the end of a 2 months run, it would have offered as many seats as 300 festivals!!! How could the festival circuit ever replace a commercial distribution??? Not a single film gets lined up 300 times in the same country, provided the country has that many festivals willing to arbor it (many local festivals are genre or format exclusive). Here we need to balance out the higher attendance rate of a festival screenings (once or twice per city) and the much lower attendance in arthouses for a simultaneous nationwide release. Even with this consideration in mind, any decent arthouse circuit distribution (at least 30 screens) would offer a wider audience than the maximum number of festivals a film could get! 
In France a low artfilm distribution is between 15 and 30 screens, a good distribution is at least 90 screens, and a very popular artfilm may get up to 400 screens, half of the blockbuster level a mass-appeal mainstream genre film gets. In the USA, very few artfilms get more than 30 screens nationwide... and most of what they consider "artfilms" are actually mainstream foreign titles. A once in a blue moon success such as The Artist, supported by the Oscars, reached 1500 screens (a 1/3rd of the blockbuster level) after 15 weeks of struggling "limited release"! This is an exception that doesn't happen every year. Even the so-called American-made "indies" (quite conventional and mainstream in taste) are often restricted to the "limited release" too... There is a stronghold of the 6 major studios on what gets shown to the American public, making constraining deals with exhibitors, in spite of the anti-trust law.

Pretending that it's OK to show any film on only 1 screen (and in this case, it's never for a 2 months period, more like only 1 week and ciao) is an irresponsible thought for a movie reviewer, worse if that reviewer is holding a statement in prints! Every sensible critic, even any mere journalist, should feel outraged by it, and see it as big enough an anomaly to mention it in the review! or better to fucking COMPLAIN about it (in print) to the lazy distributor, the mercantile exhibitors, or more generally to a flawed system... until such recriminations become a public debate at the national level and things start to be taken into consideration for changes and improvements!!!
Why none of this happen in countries where artfilm distribution is struggling? Do they not care at all about how many of their fellow countrymen will get the option to see that film?
Even the great artfilms do not raise such legit concerns... Look at the underexposition of masterpieces (featured in the S&S top10 poll of all time), best films of the year, films awarded at major festivals, critically acclaimed films, or even films nominated at the fucking Oscars! If it's not PG-13, it DOES NOT GET a normal wide distribution. Period. This is bullshit! The USA is a society where culture for the masses is regulated by the moral limitations of a 13 yold. And when I say "masses", I mean the ENTIRE POPULATION minus the happy few living in a megapole where the film was shown for a week... This is a serious concern. Don't you think the press should make it its duty to report this injustice, and campaign actively until something change in the fabric of this corrput system? 
Yeah, it happens when there are actual cinephiles working in the press, as distributors and exhibitors, instead of fucking individualist bastards who would rather make money on a trite half-baked flick than to give its chance in the sun to precious little gems that everybody should and must see. But, what do you expect from selfish reviewers who work for the promotion of the officially approved slate of weekly titles, and don't care about the visibility of the films for everyone else once they saw it themselves (on a free DVD screener delivered to them on a silver platter). Complacency breeds hegemony of the lowest common denominator, and the momentum is too heavy to overturn when nobody stands up against it.

How many national festivals will it take for an artfilm to be accessible to 1% of the population? How many years will it take for a film to screen in that many festivals?
With 50 screens during 2 months (a limited release in selected cities) a film could offer 3 million seats, which would be an accessibility to only 1% of the USA population with theatres running at full capacity! Any less than that and we fall under the symbolic 1%. And most artfilms in the USA, especially foreign imports (which includes mainstream genre movies that get near blockbuster status in their country of origin), never get even 50 screens for 2 months...
A blockbuster takes less than 2 months with fully booked theatres to become accessible to 100% of the USA population (in numbers, not necessarily in proximity and affordability)!
I'm not contesting the difference of scale between a blockbuster distribution and an "elitist" artfilm distribution... But why must the gap be so tragically huge? This is the question that never keeps movie reviewers awake at night, because they never wonder why, they don't care wherever the wind blows as long as they are paid to promote the standard marketing talking points. 
There is no mystery, if the arthouse system is in dire straits, it's because NOBODY fights for it. You can't always blame the bad taste of the American population, sometimes, when you don't make challenging films AVAILABLE at all, the population doesn't even get the opportunity to reject or adopt them... 

Festivals play a key role in the life of an underexposed artfilm. Obviously. To signal its presence to reviewers who only ever watch foreign films (for example) or debut films at festivals, because they never go out of their way to hunt for these themselves (they stay at home and complain about how bad a job festival curators do). To generate a buzz among journalists. To give directors a pristine screening, and a platform for interviews, connection to distributors and even network for future films. 
But we can't ask festivals to do more than what they are meant for. A festival circuit, however vast and numerous, will never be able to replace a NORMAL COMMERCIAL DISTRIBUTION (not even the "limited release" of a niche "arthouse film")!!! And they only reach out to the same type of population : professional critics, filmmakers, curators and festival goers. Their opening to the more general public, and especially in rural areas and remote cities is very very limited. The general public is not concerned by the slates of film festivals.

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"[..] What Two Years At Sea suggests is that there is a chasm between a festival screening and a screening in a commercial cinema setting. Rivers' films failed to come...... when it was released into a competitive market festival a few months after the 2011 London film Festival. Various factors can be called into mitigation, including the increasingly saturated market place, weak scheduling and the non-conventional narrative [..]
When it comes to Two Years At Sea, The Arbor, Las Acasias, Snowtown, Samson & Delilah, and other titles that constitute a commercial risk - but whose festival success suggests that they have a currency - surely there's room for an initiative that allows films to screen without exposing them to rigorous commercial expectations that many of them cannot possibly hope to fulfill? Where festivals do differ from standard exhibition practice is that films are pretty much presented on a relatively even keel. Once a 'niche' title readers the general marketplace, however, it cannot hope to compete with the mainstream in terms of advertising spend and publicity, yet it will be judged over the same three-days box-office performance. [..]"
A Haven for Art Films (David Locke; Sight&Sound; Nov 2012)
There is already a sheltered alternative to "standard exhibition practice" with "commercial risk"... it's called the "arthouse circuit" ! This is where "artfilms", films will small-audience-appeal and low commercial potential can be projected for longer than an opening weekend, or 2 weeks at best. They can stay on for weeks, where the cinéphile crowd can discover them on the long run, without the costly marketing brainwashing. But when you let your arthouse circuit die out... obviously, you believe that there is only festivals left standing to fulfill the commercial role of an arthouse. And this is bullshit! First it's misjudging the situation and the economy of the system, secondly it's proposing a bandaid for a wooden leg...
Why should "artfilms" be relegated to roaming aimlessly from festival to festival, like free-samples at an agriculture fair, just because expensive mainstream crap holds a monopoly of ALL screens available?

Two Years at Sea is labeled "experimental", although its only a realistic documentary (since when people need a special effort to look at life as it exists in the real world???), the other titles mentionned are merely "artfilms", they are not mass-appeal by any means, but anybody could watch them provided they are the least open-minded, and not totally conditionned by the pre-digested blockbuster culture... These films could and should get easily 50 screens in a country the size of the UK, 200 in the USA, because they are beautiful, worth discovering and most importantly a prime alternative choice to the monotonous offering of mass-appeal entertainment.
We do not expect art films to get a blockbuster treatment anytime soon! Although an import like A Separation reached 1 million spectators in France last year!!! But on the other hand, there is a VITAL MINIMUM of screens that any films must get in order to enter public conversation. 

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14 octobre 2012

Movies History According to the USA

If you can spell "neo" and "new wave", namedrop "Spielberg", "Scorsese", "Coppola", "Tarantino", "PTA", "JLG", if you hate the intellectual elite and indulge in your own personal guilty pleasures, if you can make favourite lists and rate movies with a percentage, you're ready to publish in the NYT or Film Comment or any film page in the USA. Don't bother learning cinema history, or how to think critically cause you'll never have to defend your choices or refer to anything else beyond "Neorealism" and "The New Wave"... Make sure to regularly bash anything going on outside of the USA, like film festivals, festival films, and find everything non-Hollywood boring and slow. Don't read the foreign press, and stay at home watching TV instead of saving your arthouse circuit.
The hardest part is probably to synopsize movies every week without ever dealing with "Cinema" material, only treating each title as pure subjective entertainment, but many succeed, it is doable. Never use the word "Cinema", too elitist. Finally, if you see anybody attempt to open a debate about serious issues, make sure to shut it down right away, with raucous contempt and an air of desperate fatigue. Remember your target readership is the 13-to-24 yold spectacle consumer. Even the 24 yolds aren't adult, they're just regressive adulescents, so keep it simple and fun oriented. If it isn't fun reading, then how else could culture be possibly worth reading???

Hollywood has a short memory, they prefer we forget they made bad movies in the past, or not remember the ones they try to remake today (to get us to pay again for something that didn't work the last time). Sure, Hollywood is focused on making profits TODAY. Why should they care if silent films that are not restored are being lost for ever? These are not profitable items! So why bother? Even old Hollywood classics, aren't screened, or restored, or digitized today, because it would add low-profit titles into an already long list of yearly releases. The Hollywood motto is to save ALL commercial screens available for whatever the big studios put out NOW, so they can rack up the optimum opening weekend gross (take the money and run before the first viewers tell others how disappointing it was and ruin the buzz).

If we could understand the financial logic of selfish Hollywood (although a studio should also care about its past culture, or the cinema culture in general, selflessly, at least for a small part), it's harder to understand why movie reviewers would share the exact same imperatives as studio executives... American movie reviewers only care for whatever the American distribution market (i.e. Hollywood) feeds them. They only care for HERE AND NOW. They dread showing interest for something out of fashion already (like last week's release), and are bored by courageous artfilms that don't make B.O. money... If there is no stars, no fun, no surprising plot twists, no exciting edits... they don't care enough to make an effort, and shout it out loudly to show how demanding is the consumer. 

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11 octobre 2012

David Lynch philosophiquement (France Culture)

Philosopher avec David Lynch
(Adèle Van Reeth; Les nouveaux chemins de la connaissance; France Culture; 8-11 oct 2012)

1. Cinéaste de l'âme et du corps (8 oct 2012) [MP3] 58'
Avec : Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, professeur de philosophie
Demain, David Roche viendra questionner ce qu’il reste de l’identité quand la subjectivité se brise en éclats de matière, à partir notamment de Lost Highway et de Mullolhand Drive ; mercredi, le philosophe Eric Dufour s’interrogera sur l’expérience d’une temporalité non linéaire propre au rêve et au cauchemar dans les films de Lynch, et jeudi, c’est Pacôme Thiellement qui aidera à penser les vices et vertus de la culture américaine et de la fin de la télévision à partir de la série  et du film Twin peaks. Mais pour commencer cette semaine, c’est le philosophe Mathieu Potte-Bonneville qui vient réfléchir au problème de l’union entre l’âme et le corps à partir de l’univers fictionnel donc bien réel d’un cinéaste qui fait du point de vacillement entre la réalité et le rêve la meilleure façon de penser le réel.
Bibliographie :
  • Méditations métaphysiques, objections et réponses suivies de quatre lettres (René Descartes)
  • L'Ethique (Spinoza)
  • Elephant Man (Frederick Treves; 2012)
  • Extrait de Conférences de Borges (1985)

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2. Identité et subjectivité (9 oct 2012) [MP3] 58'
Avec : David Roche, philosophe, maître de conférences à l'Université de Bourgogne
Deuxième temps aujourd’hui de notre semaine consacrée  la pensée en mouvement de David Lynch. Après le dédoublement de l’âme et du corps  hier lundi, avant l’implosion du temps en une spirale linéaire, demain mercredi, et la folie de Twin Peaks, jeudi, c’est aujourd’hui en compagnie de David Roche que nous allons réfléchir à l’univers lynchéen à partir de la question de l’identité des personnages, et le décalage entre ce qu’ils sont, ce qu’ils rêvent d’être, ce qu’ils n’arrivent pas être, et le récit fragmentaire et sinueux qui en résulte. A l’affût de signes et indices, le spectateur se fait détective et tente de construire un récit à partir de ce qui n’est peut-être, que la narration d’une subjectivité éclatée.
Bibliographie :
  • L'imagination malsaine (David Roche; 2008)
  • David Lynch (Thierry Jousse; 2012)
  • David Lynch: entretien avec Chris Rodley 
  • David Lynch (Chris Rodley; 2012)
  • Paul Ricoeur, temps et récit (1985)

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3. Le temps d'un cauchemar (10 oct 2012) [MP3] 58'
Avec : Eric Dufour, agrégé de philosophie
Dans le monde de David Lynch, le temps se répète mais ne ressemble pas,  dans l’univers des Nouveaux chemins, les émissions s’enchainent mais ne se répètent pas, après Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, venu lundi nous parler de l’âme et du corps dans les films de Lynch, David Roche qui hier a tenté de recoller les morceaux de l’identité éclatée dans Lost Highway, avant Pacôme Thiellement qui demain s’affolera autour de Twin Peaks, c’est aujourd’hui le philosophe Eric Dufour qui vient nous montrer comme la matière, le temps et l’image sont au service d’une esthétique de l’horreur chez  David Lynch.
            C’est parce qu’il est fait de matière, d’image et de temps que le cinéma peut faire jaillir l’horreur non pas seulement à l’écran, mais en nous, en estompant, par endroit seulement, la limite qui sépare le rêve de la réalité. Quel est ce monde qui nous effraie et qui ne ressemble pas au nôtre, sans lui être totalement étranger? C’est un cauchemar, entendez, c’est un film de David Lynch. Pensez au visage du clochard dans Mulholland drive qui, en une demi-seconde d’apparition à l’écran, marque durablement notre mémoire. Rappelez-vous l’angoisse suscitée par un couloir obscur dans lequel le personnage, tout simplement disparaît.
            Apparition et disparition, la ligne du temps, chez Lynch, se brise et se mord la queue en une circularité insoutenable, le mal est un virus qui se propage dans le sang et les rouge à lèvres et l’espace s’éventre au sein de l’image, tel un visage dont la banalité devient soudain effrayante.
            C’est en jouant avec les limites du réel que Lynch crée l’horreur. Le rêve n’est pas le contraire de la réalité, le virtuel ne s’oppose pas au réel, nous dit Bergson, et Lynch joue de cette continuité pour rendre fou, en noyant la banalité du réel au milieu de fantasmes éveillés.     Apprendre à regarder la texture de la matière pour se résigner à l’inexistence du présent : le cinéma de Lynch fait du rêve le pire ennemi de la conscience.
Bibliographie :
  • David Lynch : Matière, temps et image (Eric Dufour; 2008)
  • David Lynch: entretien avec Chris Rodley (2012)
  • David Lynch (Thierry Jousse; 2012)

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4. Twin Peaks, vices et vertus de l’ Amérique (11 oct 2012) [MP3] 58'
Avec : Pacôme Thiellement, écrivain et vidéaste
Dernier temps aujourd’hui de notre semaine autour de la pensée en images et en mouvement de David Lynch. Après le dédoublement de l’âme et du corps avec Mathieu Potte-Bonneville, lundi, l’identité éclatée avec David Roche, mardi et le cauchemar virtuel mais bien réel hier mercredi avec Eric Dufour, c’est aujourd’hui Pacôme Thiellement qui vient nous immerger dans l’univers mythique et mythologique de la série télévisée Twin Peaks.

Diffusée pour la première fois aux Etats-Unis le 8 avril 1990, la série Twin Peaks est l’occasion pour David Lynch d’explorer sur la durée les thèmes et procédés qu’il avait mis en œuvre dans ses précédents films. Cette série est une véritable saga, qui joue avec les codes du soap opéra à merveilles et sait trouver le ton juste en maintenant cet écart subtil avec la normalité qui fait tout le sel des personnages lynchéens.  Difficile de croire que les contraintes propres au petit écran - : affadissement des couleurs, écrasement de l’espace et perte de la qualité du son – n’aient pas dénaturé le travail du réalisateur. Mais c’est la sans doute la clé du succès non démenti depuis 20 ans de cette série : avoir brillamment mené la rencontre 30 épisodes durant entre  l’univers absurde, onirique et angoissant du réalisateur et la logique industrielle des images.
            Mais comment comprendre que, deux ans plus tard, lorsque Lynch s’attelle à la réalisation d’un film à partir de cette série, Fire WalkWith Me, il choisisse pour scène d’ouverture de montrer la destruction d’un tube cathodique, comme pour figurer la séparation nette de son travail et du petit écran ? tout comme le reflet dans le miroir qui montre parfois un autre personnage que celui qui se regarde, Lynch se serait-il pris au piège d’un poste qui l’aurait happé pour mieux l’en éjecter, mais sous une autre forme ?
Bibliographie :
  • La main gauche de David Lynch (Pacôme Thiellement; 2010)
  • David Lynch: entretien avec Chris Rodley (2012)
  • David Lynch (Thierry Jousse; 2012)
  • Ennéades traité 51, traduction de Laurent Lavaud (Plotin)
  • Conférences, traduction Françoise Rosset (Jorge Luis Borgès)

Related :

07 octobre 2012

Inaccessible Hollywood movie narrations...

Hollywood viewing user guide for David Bordwell :
  1. How the Hollywood plot is presented is as important as what is presented, hopefully...  (eg. Princess Bride; The Social Network; Sunset Blvd.; The Rope; The Lady in the Lake, Cloud Atlas...)
  2. Often we’ll have to go outside the Hollywood movie, for proper untempered context, to understand its plot "based on a true story" (eg. Pearl Harbor; J. Edgar; Gone With the Wind; Birth of a Nation...)
  3. Be prepared to fill in a lot. And expect occasionally to be wrong. Twist ending much? (eg. M. Night Shyamalan; Usual Suspects; Sunset Boulevard; Vertigo; Citizen Kane; The Hulk; Contact; Sphere; Predators; Prometheus; Hulk; The Adjustment Bureau; Moon; Body of Lies; The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; Knowing; Ghost Ship; The Prestige; V for Vendetta; The Game; Minority Report; Chinatown; Psycho; Fight Club; The Night of the Hunter...)
  4. A lot of Hollywood movie exposition can be left to the imagination, because it's useless or intentionally misleading in order to forge a mystery (eg. V for Vendetta; Contagion; Children of Men...)
  5. Be ready to register Hollywood space as space (eg. John Ford, Hitchcock, Enemy of the State; Jason Bourne; Inception; Panic Room; The Rope; Wall-E...)
  6. While mainstream films tend to reinforce first impressions, some Hollywood movies will nuance or even negate them (eg. Usual Suspects; The Dark Knight; I, Robot; Pirates of the Carribeans; Despicable Me; Salt; Rio Bravo; Black Narcissus...)
  7. Hollywood movies will use stylistic foreshadowing (i.e. Mannerism), often in place of the dramatic sort (eg. Domino; Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time; Kick-Ass; Speed Racer; The Red Shoes; Sin City; 300; Schindler's List...)
  8. The Hollywood character is revealed –or kept under wraps– through routines (eg. The Truman Show; Zodiac; Se7en; A Serious Man; The Matchsticks Men; Forrest Gump...)
  9. Instead of who done it? we ask what are Hollywood characters doing? (eg. Zodiac; Ocean's Eleven; Mr and Mrs Smith; The Taking of Pelham 123; Unstoppable; Mission Impossible; Armageddon; Liar liar; The invention of lying; Rio Bravo; 12 Angry Men, Cast Away...)
  10. A Hollywood movie  may give us nascent conflicts but never develop them, or pay them off, but unlike art films, it's not for gravitas, but out of screenwriting incompetency (so many! eg. Prometheus; The Island; The Rise of the Planet of the Apes; Casablanca...); TV series cliff-hanger
  11. Parallels matter more than causality in many Hollywood movies (eg. "network narrative" movies...); TV series
  12. Patience, please (eg. Wall-E; Children of Men; Redacted; There Will Be Blood; North By Northwest; Up; The Shawshank Redemption; Papillon; Drive...)
  13. Some Hollywood movies are quite laconic, in the sense that they babble a lot to say nothing interesting.  (eg. so many...)
  14. Life as one damn thing after another, not necessarily one damn thing because of another (eg. Prometheus; Forrest Gump; The Truman Show; Lawrence of Arabia [UK]...)
  15. We must often watch Hollywood movies twice (or more) to appreciate them fully  (eg. Inception; The Sixth Sense...)
  16. Art films tend to tell you important story points less than three times; Hollywood movies, more often (eg. Groundhog Day; Source Code; Déjà-vu...)
  17. Hollywood movies will sometimes heighten our awareness of both ordinary life and the conventions of art. "Intensified continuity" much? (eg. RatatouilleDomino; Jason Bourne; The Matrix; The Blair Witch Project; Cloverfield; Dark City; Panic Room; Hugo; Snake Eye; Douglas Sirk; Jackass; Stranger Than Fiction; Singin' in the Rain; TV serie "24"...)
  18. There will always be some Hollywood images, sounds, or scenes that resist easy sense-making, not because they are too clever but because they are too dumb. Red herring much? (eg. Prometheus; Contact; Sphere; The Abyss; Kiss Me Deadly; Cloverfield; Citizen Kane...)
Source of the parody : How to watch an art movie, reel 1 (David Bordwell; 26 August 2012) on Sueño y silencio (2012)

So easy to make up rules that somehow only applies to "artfilms", to make them look more inaccessible than whatever Hollywood has ever produced, so that the audience will continue to believe "artfilms" are for the elite, and are too complicated for the regular spectator... While in fact, these random, arbitrary rules apply just the same to the typical Hollywood movie. It's just a matter of bias. When you try hard enough to paint something in a black versus white mentality, you eventually find contradictions, in appearance (but not necessarily characteristic of an antagonistic perception) to show the kind of cinema you defend (or are more familiar with) in a bright light, and contrast it with its polar opposite. 
There are differences between how Hollywood fabricates its narratives (by the number, safely, by copying the past, by stealing ideas abroad) and how a more independent mind strives to generate an original story outside of any commercial imperatives (what Bordwell conveniently labels The "art cinema tradition"). But I didn't find these particular points were especially telling, because Hollywood could use these narrative tactics too (just not as well as art films most of the time). 
This idea of a manichaean opposition between how the spectator perceives a Hollywood movie or an artfilm is quite archaic... A Hollywood moviegoer may just as well watch an artfilm with the general viewing conventions learnt in Hollywood movies! Being averse to acquired taste, subtlety, nuances, depth, stylistic flourish, patience, intellectual food, delayed pleasure, poetry... only means having bad taste and being culturally complacent. It doesn't mean that Hollywood spectators are incapable to discover art cinema because they treat their narrative strategies with more care and respect...

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