This is a group for people who love cinema, and our primary focus is on cinema as an art form. Instead of discussing cinema as solely or primarily an entertainment vehicle, we stand out among Internet discussion groups for focusing foremost on the relationships between form, style, meaning, and authorship. Script, casting, acting, lighting, composition, camera movement, and sound are all part of a film's "style" if discussed in terms of aesthetics or in relationship to possible meanings —: rather than on the level of "that was a good performance."
We are a group for people who believe, as per the "auteur theory" or "politique des auteurs," that for the majority of great narrative films the director is the primary author. We want to avoid those tired arguments that we have already rejected that the scriptwriter or producer or star is usually the auteur of great films, as well as unsupported assertions such as "I prefer scripts (or, for example, acting) to mise en scene," while allowing those and related arguments for particular films. And our intention is to discuss all cinema, including pre-cinema, rather than concentrating mostly on new films. Narrative films, avant-garde/experimental films, documentaries, home movies, industrial films, and others are potential subjects, as are any of the above made on video.
Related topics that are permitted, especially when used in making points about film as an expressive medium, include aspects of the medium's technological history, biographies of filmmakers and others who have worked on films, points about film theory, a film's production history, a film's critical history, the history of film criticism (especially auteurist criticism), other relevant factual information from related fields, announcements of screenings or telecasts, discussion of print quality, discussions of film writing that's of interest. We are not, however, a movie trivia group; unconnected facts are off-topic, as are unsupported assertions of tastes and preferences for particular kinds of films, actors, particular aspects of films. Occasional off-topic posts are permitted, but we ask that they be kept to a minimum, or else posted on the OT board.
Film students who love cinema and agree with our principles are welcome to apply, and are encouraged to occasionally ask for assistance. Film students only looking for homework help are discouraged from applying.
There are a few firm prohibitions:
If you wish to report something that you think is a violation of the Statement of Purpose, please email the moderators identifying the offending post(s). We will of course preserve your anonymity.
Posts are open to all on the Web, but only members can post. Members are asked to treat each post as one would a published print-media article. Please write with care; avoid arcane jargon; edit your posts; be concise; try for eloquence. Post primarily when you really care about a movie, or a related issue. When you are offering information rather than opinions, please try to insure that it's accurate. Please avoid "in-group" code words, and write out film titles and filmmaker names in full at least once in a post. Use an accurate subject line, as it is assumed that not everyone will have time to read every post. When you are changing the topic in the context of replying to a post in a thread, change the subject line, so that "What's great about Hawks" becomes "Out of focus shots in Brakhage (was: What's great about Hawks)." Sign your posts, and place at least your first name, and preferably your age and location, into your Yahoo! profile. By posting, you are agreeing that your posts may be placed on the Web.
Many members of our group will lack the time to answer all questions about their views, or, for example, about their published articles. You are free to ask, but no one in our group should feel obliged to answer queries.
If after reading this you are interested in joining us, please see our Information on Joining.
Ruy Gardnier, Aaron Graham, Richard Modiano
You can reach us all by sending a single email to
This group originated in an email from Peter Tonguette to six others of us about the need for such a group; Fred Camper was the first to sign on. The group was formed on June 13, 2003, after six days of intensive email discussions among the seven of us, all of whom became its first members. We wanted a group where flames were banned; where film could be discussed primarily as an art form; where the basic tenets of the auteur theory were accepted. Three of the seven took an active role in the group's formation ï¿½ though the original moderators were Fred Camper and Peter Tonguette, it was a third of us who actually formed and named the group, in what he thought was just a test to see how feasible it would be to form a Yahoo! Group. As far as we know, there is no similar group on the 'Net. The original Statement of Purpose, which is close to the one above, was read and commented on and agreed to by all of the seven participants in the discussion.
Since our formation we have grown rapidly, and though the first members were all Americans, we are pleased to note that we have become increasingly international. As of this writing I believe the age range among our members (I don't know everyone's age) is 16 to 69, and nations represented include the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, Turkey, Egypt, Brazil, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the Philippines. In July, 2005, Peter Tonguette withdrew from the group to concentrate on other projects. As of this date I have withdrawn as co-moderator for the same reason, but at least for the present am remaining in the group. Fred Camper, February 15, 2006.