Every filmmaker has a responsibility to at least make an attempt to create something that is visually compelling. That is the reason film, as a medium, exists. Funny Ha Ha is not a film. It is filmed, but it is not a film by the definition given above. No matter how well written the dialogue is or how subtly performed the acting is, it is a worthless endeavor if the VISUAL aspect is ignored. If all you care about is acting and dialogue, then put on a play. Films are visual. The writing and acting are a part of it, but it is nothing without the visuals. To see what I mean about film being a visual medium, go watch KOYANISQATSI and POWAQQATSI. They have no actors or talking, but they are two of the finest films ever made.
I get what you're saying, but I think film (as any other form of art) can be anything that the creator wants it to be. The idea that a filmmaker has a responsibility to use their medium in a certain way (or for a certain purpose) seems wrong to me. A film like Derek Jarman's Blue is visually "empty" (just an 80 min blue screen), but it is nonetheless a powerful film that uses the medium to create/convey something meaningful. So I guess I just can't get behind definitions that limit the ideas or possibilities of any artistic creation, as yours seems to suggest. Oh, but I totally agree with you about Koyanisqatsi and Powaqqatsi...truly amazing films.
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