It warms my heart when popular art is recognized as art, rather than being written off as "product" by the intelligentsia. If I had to pick one recent set of commercial films to formally celebrate as an artistic achievement, I would have gone with The Lord of the Rings, but the Bourne trilogy is a strong contender. New York's Museum of Modern Art has acquired the Bourne films and is screening all three of them this week, accompanied by panel discussions with Bourne Identity director/franchise supervisor Doug Liman and an expert on neuroscience and memory.

MoMA didn't break with precedent by adding the Bourne movies to its collection, which includes a number of other "mainstream" works (e.g. all of the James Bond films). I'm a bit surprised the MoMA curators were able to get any sort of consensus on Bourne, given many cinephiles' distaste for the hyperactive editing style of Supremacy and Ultimatum. Of course, I do agree with the assessment that the movies represent a higher standard in action filmmaking, both dramatically and technically. As for how much they have to contribute to our understanding of "brain function, memory, personality, and identity" -- ehhh. I like the films, but I'm not sure they seriously engage with those questions. I'm all for talking about it though.
categories Cinematical