CIU111.3 Why criticism is important?

Criticism is one of the concepts that is often misunderstood or undervalued. Many people consider critics those who just want to rip your work apart without even being in the industry — so basically the concept is perceived only in its negative connotations (our recent discussion in the university on this topic only proof my thoughts about it). However, I personally believe that critics are important and their work is valuable for a deeper understanding of a piece of art.

I’d like to narrow the topic and explain what I mean by the example of film criticism. So why is film criticism important? One of the most known American film critics Roger Ebert gave a very simple answer — “Because films are important”. And in their turn, films are important because they have a great influence on the society and the way people think (FoundationINTERVIEWS, 2008).

It is vital to bear in mind that film criticism exists not because it is meant to tell the audience what to think and feel — it has a greater purpose of putting the films in the cultural context, giving a better understanding of the decisions made by filmmakers (Fischer, 2015). Familiar with the film art much more than a general audience, they can reveal more details that can provide a deeper understanding of what the film crew intended to say including subtexts, allusions and so on.

Considering all this, we should value film criticism — and criticism in general — as it analyses the piece of work within its cultural context, looking closer at every creative decision that contributed to the final product. And in order for people to realize this importance, we should get rid of that ridiculous negative perception of criticism and focus more on what we can learn from it and how we can get better.


References

Fischer, C. (2015). The importance of film criticism. University Observer. Retrieved 22 April    2018, from http://www.universityobserver.ie/otwo/the-importance-of-film-criticism/

FoundationINTERVIEWS. (2008, December 30). Roger Ebert on Film Criticism – EMMYTVLEGENDS.ORG. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8FCVlQ_5aSI

8 comments

  1. alexisdechampris · April 22

    Though I agree with the idea that criticism has a negative connotation it should not have, I think it is because unfortunately, there ARE many people who rip films to shred (and any piece of media for that matter), especially since the age of the internet. Due to that, the word has become negative for potential creators. In the end, “real” critics (such as Roger Ebert) understand it is absolutely not that, but considering we are in an age where it is very easy to anonymously give your opinion, creators could be scared of those easy-to-reach reactions. Perhaps, the bigger problem here is constant negativity. Oh well…

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    • liza zhokhova · April 25

      I do make a difference between critics and just, you know, commentators who decided to give their opinion without actually analyzing a piece of work. That’s why I believe in criticism, but that goes beyond the Internet “home-made critics”

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  2. Yana Kalashnikova · April 25

    I agree, however, I’m in the mindset of it’s not what you say its how you say it. I think that is why a lot of people are either afraid of criticism or just don’t want to hear it, hence everyone’s perception of it being a negative thing. I also think its really to do with the how you approach criticism if you just state all the negatives that were seen in, for example, a film but you don’t state any positives that is not necessarily helpful. In fact, it can damage someones moral. But if you approach it with the positive and negative criticism, it will not only help the creator to improve but also make them think differently about their film (or any other creation).

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  3. wwwyasir · April 25

    I don’t think people disregard critics just for ripping apart a movie, but because of what they rip apart. Critics are criticized for criticising surface-level elements, like the acting, story, and so forth, without regarding others underneath the surface. Sometimes they are not very justified, since they are, of course, biased. But a lot of the time they are indeed justified, and they have every right to be because surface-level elements do compromise a film’s enjoyability as they could become distracting, no matter how brilliant the other layers seem to be. The issues that compromise this enjoyability and overall message include terrible execution and severe miscommunication, even if some audiences are intuitive (and are correct in their intuition).

    Sometimes the issues fall right into several spots in the leaning middle, and a lot of it is obviously subjective. I had viewed a critically acclaimed horror movie called Possession, and I couldn’t understand why it was so. The acting was terrible and the story is contrived. And while I did understand the theme (and it is a brilliant theme), and why the acting and story were delivered the way they did, I felt that everything about was done poorly to a comical extent, and not in the way it intended.

    From this, from everything I just said, you have to understand both sides in order to refine your work. If you cannot, then you have probably done the best you could in doing so after all. People love and hate your work. Deal with it, even if they’re wrong.

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  4. faizaanraheel · April 26

    As i have mentioned in my blog ‘Critical Critic’, a critics job is to basically criticise on the work that other people do, and they do not talk from the perspective of your friend, or family, or even another colleague for that matter, they are our eyes and thoughts and minds outside of our inner circle, the ones who dont sugar coat your work, all artists or for that fact anyone who is in a field which requires a person to criticise their work, should use that opportunity to make better their work if its destructive, or celebrate if its constructive, it all boils down to what the artist decides to do with that information.

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  5. ryanbakerthefilmmaker · April 26

    A well written and concise piece of writing Lisa. Critics and reviewers are indeed a vital aspect of the creative process, as informed feedback from experts is a great way to refine creative work. Apart from that though, having work vetted and criticized allows for reflection on projects that can then be improved upon. Being a creator means that we should be producing work for an audience, whatever that audience may be. This is often the main goal of any creative endeavour and so by doing this, we must learn to produce work that is pleasing to our audience and because feedback from audiences can often be weak and ill-informed, there is a need for informed analysis of creative work.

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  6. ShehzorTK · April 26

    Couldn’t have been said any better. I believe that it is extremely diffucult to identify actual constructive criticism from plain out trolls. If one successfully identifies a piece of actual constructive criticism it can actually prove to be a source of personal improvement and may result in the individuals’ future work significantly improving,

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  7. shahbanojawad · April 26

    I agree with you 100%. Criticism is extremely vital for the growth and development of your art. Without it, anyone and everyone would consider themselves an artist of sorts. It helps to keep the criticised in check and for them to strive to be better. Good or bad, criticism is a form of motivation in a way that pushes to keep discovering the best in you and though it can be tough to receive, it is important to understand that nothing drives a person more than a critique.

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