At least it’s an ethos.

1 Jun

By Ayo

Low style is better than no style. Serviceable but rote cultural products are less interesting to me than inspired, idiosyncratic failures. M. Night Shyamalan is more interesting for the very personal way in which he destroys the motion picture medium than inoffensive workmen like Gary Ross.

Brilliant virtuoso directors like Quentin Tarantino or Julie Taymor are also interesting. The awe-inspiring visual storytellers at the top of the field are on level ground with the disastrous train wreck storytellers. In these extremes we can see some personality. There is a definite point of view.

I appreciate the human hand. I don’t often go for the “invisible/unseen” craftsman, I want to see mark making. The director is the author of a film. For that, I want to feel evidence that this particular person has contributed more than the cat-herding of juggling the aspects and elements of filmmaking. I want that author’s point of view. His or her voice. There must be a reason for me to see a “____ film.”

I find beauty and interest in broken, ugly things. And also perfect, splendid things. Either is a result of a mind stretching for something out of the easy reach.

We also need the middle of the road. We need the movies that are “fine.” Or “fun.” Or “okay.” We need movies that jog to the finish line. They are the cultural ingredient that help us see what is so fascinating about the excellent as well as the uniquely awful individualist filmmakers. M. Night Shyamalan wouldn’t be half as interesting if his failures as an artist and craftsman couldn’t be viewed in relief against pedestrian artists like Tamara Jenkins.

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