Why are art and imagination separated from intelligence?
If it's appealing to the intelligence of an audience, then I think that Alien does a fine job of being intellectual because it plays on my fears in an intelligent way. However, one might argue that my imagination is irrational and therefore not intelligent, but I don't believe this to be the case. Intelligence isn't synonymous with rationality. Imagination is always required on some level.
Does the film literally have to ask us questions to appeal to the intelligence of an audience, like a professor to his students, or can it present us material with which to form our own questions and still be considered intellectual? And that's the problem: I think it's wrong to assign adjectives like "intellectual" to a film, which isn't a living, thinking thing. It's not intellectual; its makers are. And the content of a film isn't just words, but images, too, and these can be intelligently created in a way that makes visual sense. If intellectualism is merely the technology of words, of intelligent-sounding dialogue and academic jargon crammed into what amounts to the film makers' thesis, onscreen, then very few films would come close to intellectual. However, movies are first and foremost a visual medium and visuals will always take precedent.
The Iconoclasm of the Renaissance saw the shifting of the Latin texts into the vernacular English, and the visual splendor of the Catholic churches reformed into barren halls, where the knowledge was in the words on pages, not the beauty of stained glass windows. But visual-learning and the acquisition of knowledge come naturally to humans. Written language and the use of technology do not and must be taught. We look at this as an excuse to say that it's intelligent, but past a certain point, the ability to learn language decreases exponentially. Does that mean that we get dumber as we get older? Pictures can be understood at any age and can convey great meaning. And before you say that they are illusory and written words have definitions that do not change, this is simply not the case. Letters and numbers are merely symbols that have no meaning in and of themselves, any more than the Mona Lisa does, or the symbolism in The Last Supper. The meaning of words changes over time. Language is a organic mass that evolves, just like the schools of criticism that attempt to analyze and critique classical literature. These are merely standards that shift and change, much in the same manner as the opinion of someone looking at a piece of art. Perhaps it's because they're one in the same thing.