Monday, February 14, 2011

Making Movies

Today is not a day for work.

Besides the fact that I'm wearing a red dress (I mean-- who can honestly press their nose to the grindstone [cubicle] when they are decked out in red?), I am reading the book "Making Movies" by Sideny Lumet and I am smitten.

Smitten with his writing, smitten with his movies... even though I think The Pawnbroker is the most depressing thing I've ever seen. But mostly, I am, again, just smitten with just the process.

[It doesn't help that I was on set two weeks ago while I was on vacation and I've been to some preview screenings to help friends out recently.... le sigh.]

But anyway, since I have to be content to be distantly smitten at the moment, here's something to feed into the movie-making-development-production-editing lust:

Making a movie has alwasy been about telling a story. Some movies tell a story and leave you with a feeling. Some tell as story and leave you with a feeling and give you an idea. Some tell a story, leave you with a feeling, give you an idea and reveal something about yourself and others. And surely the way you tell that story should relate somehow to what that story is. 

Because that's what style is: the way you tell a particular story. After the first critical decision ("What's this story about?") comes the second most important decisions: "Now that I know what it's about, how shall I tell it?" And this decision will affect every department involved in the movie that is about to be made. 

Let me vent my anger first, so it's out of the way. Critics talk about style as something apart from the movie because they need the style to be obvious. The reason they need it to be obvious is that they don't really see. If the movie looks like a Ford or Coca-Cola commercial, they think that's style. And it is. It's trying to sell you something you don't need and is stylistically geared to that goal. As soon as a "long lens" appears, that's "style." ... From the huzzahs that greeted Lelouch's A Man and a Woman, one would've thought that another Jean Renoir had arrived. A perfectly pleasant bit of romantic fluff was proclaimed "art," because it was so easy to identify as something other than realism. ... 

Good style, to me, is unseen style. It is style that is felt.

(quote c/o making movies, chapter 3, "style"... picture c/o imdb)

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