Keywords:Cinematic, medium specificity, philosophy of film, distinctiveness, artistic value, Berys Gaut, Noël Carroll.
Is cinematicity a virtue in film? Is lack of cinematicity a defect? Berys Gaut thinks so. He claims that cinematicity is a pro tanto virtue in film. I disagree. I argue that the term “cinematic” principally refers to some cluster of characteristics found in films featuring the following: expansive scenery, extreme depth of field, high camera positioning, and elaborate tracking shots. We often use the word as a term of praise. And we are likely right to do so. We are right if we mean that the film does well what movies often do well. We are wrong if we mean that the film is good for doing what is merely distinctive of film. This issue has important implications for understanding the role of the medium in artistic evaluation. I argue that we should reject Gaut’s claim because it entails an implausibly strong medium specificity thesis.
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