The Ethics of Filmmaking: How the Genetic History of Works Affects their Value

Hjort, Mette (2022) The Ethics of Filmmaking: How the Genetic History of Works Affects their Value. In: A Companion to Motion Pictures and Public Value. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ, pp. 148-170. ISBN 978-1-119-67712-3

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The Ethics of Filmmaking: How the Genetic History of Works Affects their Value
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Abstract

The aim is to make a case for seeing the ethical features of a given process of production as having clear implications for the artistic value of the relevant audiovisual work. Berys Gaut’s ethicist position offers a good starting point for this approach, but falls short nonetheless (Nannicelli 2017, 405), due to the philosopher’s emphasis on text-immanent properties and neglect of the conditions underpinning the actual interaction between agents—for example, between actors, producers, and the director—during the making of the work. I begin with a reconstruction and critique of Gaut’s ethicist position, so as to argue for an expanded ethicism that gives weight to concepts of harm and vulnerability as they relate to the way in which works are made. Focusing on the ‘genetic’ (Nannicelli 2014, 179) histories of specific audio-visual works, I subsequently develop a spectrum of artistically relevant ethical merits and demerits and provide an indication of how the position of a given work on this spectrum should be determined. Erik Poppe’s Utøya: July 22 (2018) and iconic Danish youth films from the 1970s by the directors Lasse Nielsen and Ernst Johansen define the two ends of the relevant spectrum. Having considered the implications of especially the ethically deficient production processes for the works’ artistic value, I offer thoughts about how those committed to an expanded ethicist position can effect change resulting in ethically robust production practices. Such change, I argue, is of considerable importance, inasmuch as it creates the conditions for ethically valuable filmmaking practices, and through this, for works of greater artistic value.

Keywords:artistic value, ethicism, harm, ethical merits and demerits, production ethics
Subjects:P Mass Communications and Documentation > P303 Film studies
Divisions:College of Arts > Lincoln School of Film & Media > Lincoln School of Film & Media (Film)
ID Code:49657
Deposited On:07 Jun 2022 11:29

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