Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Art of Film -- Revisited

Who's your daddy? ... Chinatown

What makes a film a valuable work of art? The answer is complicated by the fact that there are many different ways for a film to make manifest what its subject or subjects are. For me Chinatown is a great film because it 1) Tells an intriguing story on two levels, the story of the building of Los Angeles, and the corruption it entailed; the love story of two unlikely lovers caught up in the larger story. 2) It does this visually as well as through dialogue and narration. The images and scenes of the film are key to the unfolding of the story. Music and cinematography are essential exciting elements. 3) the film is coherent despite the intricacies and complexity of plot, unfolding of characters, and surprising revelations. The characters in the film change and grow more aware as the story unfolds. 4) The film is brilliant with profound insights into character, history, human nature, love, corruption, the power of evil, capitalism, naivete, and disillusionment, to name a few. It is a dark story, but whether a film is "uplifting," or depressing, or shocking, or whatever does not matter so long as it possesses such qualities as the above four. My one caveat is that I am bored with the contrived "Hollywood ending," resembling the unnecessary, but now too often performed, "happy ending" to a good massage.

Recent films I think excel, some of which I've posted commentary* :

On The Road (review)
Weekend *
Take This Waltz (review)
Perks of Being a Wallflower (review)
Dangerous Method (review)

Past Films that have shaped my life and my understanding of life include:

 Akira Kurosawa
(truth is subjective)

But this is just a sampling.
It is also essential to mention the great directors whose films have shaped my life:

Federico FelliniBernardo BertolucciAlfred HitchcockRoman PolanskiWerner FassbinderKen Russell, Peter Greenaway
Lina WertmüllerDerek JarmanPedro Almodovar, Ang LeeJohn WatersIngmar BergmanLouis MallePier Paulo PasoliniKurosawaLuis BunuelJohn Cameron MitchellSarah Polley and good old Woody Allen
(all are clickable)

The one
we sat down
and had a drink with:
John Waters--

The Guardian has quite a list
of 40 current Film Directors

Current Films


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