I recently attended opening night of the Imagine Science Film Festival and was left contemplating what it was that I thought made a good science film. What were my expectations? Should I have expectations? Was the validity of the science important or was it the point more to promote inclusion of science in the work? I was left with the impression that there were two basic groups of films: 1) the chewing gum variety and; 2) the banquet variety. Let me be clear, I enjoy both gum and good food, but I enjoy them for different reasons…
Chew on this…
These were the films that usually had some aspect of science included but did not necessarily seek to inform. I liken them to my feelings about chewing gum: I chew gum and enjoy sweet flavor for a brief time and then spit it out…I understand that my “relationship” with the gum is fleeting and forgettable, but I do enjoy it. I appreciate the talent and effort that went into the making of these films, but I did not find them memorable. Although all the films were short films, these particular films were extremely brief, sometimes just long enough to introduce a concept and perhaps this was the point…a starting point for further discussion and perhaps a whetting of the appetite?
The full dining experience
When I reminisce about the (few) fancy dining experiences in my life, it’s not just the food that I remember; it’s the setting, the company, the feelings, the complexity of the event itself. I don’t expect to enjoy extravagant dining on a daily basis, and maybe that is why they are that much more special—it’s the contrast between extraordinary and ordinary. Likewise, I found the more memorable films that I saw were the ones that were not only visually stunning, but had an interesting point of view and conveyed some science while evoking some emotion.
I don’t pretend to know anything about film critique, but I do happen to love science. To that end, I applaud any enterprise that promotes the dissemination of science. I congratulate all science filmmakers and I encourage everyone to appreciate art whenever possible. Now as Star Wars plays in the background, I think I’ll chew some gum and consult the nearest restaurant guide.
[box type=”bio”]This post is written by Mona Wu, scientist extraordinaire. She is finishing one grad degree and contemplating her future…pure science, writing, design, or a mix of all?
Thank you for sharing your views on our fun time at the science film festival![/box]