Late Night Cinematic Ramblings

I’m getting a little bored by the juxtaposition of American cinema between Indie and Studio. I no longer think this division is as true as it might have been in the 1980s, or the early part of the 90s. Cinema is a worldwide phenomenon. What is generally referred to as American-style films are, in fact, systematically controlled studio productions. It’s very hard to find critics or a magazine today that will publish material which is genuinely independent and written without any concern about being cut off of some distributor’s list or not be invited or flown into screenings. Many of the critics today get free airline tickets, hotel accommodations, bags, beautiful photographs, complimentary gifts and all additional/incidental expenses are paid by the distributors, and then these same writers are supposed to write serious objective articles about the movie.

How can they write anything independent under these circumstances? They can’t. Their living now consists of working and writing for the distributors.

Film is a very, very powerful medium. It can either confirm the idea that things are wonderful the way they are, or it can reinforce the conception that things can be changed. I think these two positions also go across the board- throughout the entire world… and the Internet punctuates this all rather effectively.

Entertainment today constantly emphasizes the message that things are wonderful the way they are. But there is another kind of cinema, which says that change is possible and necessary and it’s up to you. Any film that supports the idea that things can be changed is a great film in my eyes. It doesn’t have to be overtly political. On the contrary a film can promote the idea of change without any political message whatsoever but in its form and language can tell people that they can change their lives and contribute to progressive changes in the world. Any movie that has that spirit and says things can be changed is worth making.

Conventional commercial film tells you what to think, what is bad or good, and how to feel about it. And if it doesn’t tell you how to feel about it, it punishes the bad element in the story, or elevates the good. Films that don’t follow this simple rule usually don’t get made in Hollywood. This is one of the many reasons I am in complete awe of Christopher Nolan… what he was able to do with The Dark Knight just blew me away. And it was allowed to be made… which also blew me away.

I see a real value for the individual and for society in a cinema that doesn’t indoctrinate, doesn’t remove the audience’s own judgments from the experience. I want to make movies where the film doesn’t tell the audience… how they should feel about this or that, the audience can have a conceptualization themselves about the film… they can have a genuinely educational experience… maybe even a cathartic moment.


~ by upbeatmag on February 1, 2009.

3 Responses to “Late Night Cinematic Ramblings”

  1. Interesting site. Check out my blog on the essence of cinema. If you link to my site I will link to yours :)

  2. Send me the link!

  3. :-)

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