Tuesday, August 09, 2011
SHARING MY CONFUSION
One main reason that Film so appeals to me, more than the other storytelling mediums, is that you can walk out of a cinema and talk about it. It's communal. Its something we have over Music, which is far more niche and internalised.
Call me nostaligic, but some of my best memories are walking out of the "movies" with my family or friends still talking about what we just saw. It's my post-modern version of the "good old days".
When I was a kid, my Dad took my older brother Matt and I to one of the Sydney premiere screenings of Independence Day at midnight in Penrith. The old cinema was packed with people and the whole place cheered when the Opera House appeared with the crashed alien spaceship in the background. There was almost a live theatre atmosphere. True story.
I hope you are lucky enough to have a similar memory.
Great filmmakers make you feel something. Their film sticks with you for days, months, even years. That's why there are some movies we love, even though there is some part of them that are equal parts confusing and frustrating. We love them, but we hate them, like fast food.
One of these films, which I love, is 'No Country for Old Men' (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0477348/)
You don't have to take my word about it being good, a little golden man named Oscar agrees with me (http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/no_country_for_old_men/)
The frustrating thing about No Country for Old Men film is the ending. It has spurred no end of debate. One online forum alone, mentioned in the NY Times, has over 400 individual opinion comments about the ending (http://meetinthelobby.com/debate-no-country-for-old-men-ending.html).
I won't spoil the ending for you, save to share one monologue from Tommy Lee Jones's character, about this father:
I had two dreams about him after he died. I don’t remember the first one all that well but it was about meetin’ him in town somewheres and he give me some money and I think I lost it.
But the second one it was like we was both back in older times and I was on horseback goin through the mountains of a night. Goin through this pass in the mountains. It was cold and there was snow on the ground and he rode past me and kept on goin. Never said nothin’. He just rode on past and he had this blanket wrapped around him and he had his head down and when he rode past I seen he was carryin’ fire in a horn the way people used to do and I could see the horn from the light inside of it. About the color of the moon. And in the dream I knew that he was goin’ on ahead and that he was fixin’ to make a fire somewhere out there in all that dark and all that cold and I knew that whenever I got there he would be there. And then I woke up.
I have mulled this over for so long.
He is contemplating mortality, I know that much. That his father is waiting for him.
After months, I thought I had it: life is precious. That's why there are so many people in the world today, because we nurture life so much more. But the more people there are, the more expendable life is and the less it means to kill because we become almost like cattle. In a sense then, the modern world, with more people and with life more expendable than ever, is no country for old men, who remember the way life was when people knew each other and killing someone meant killing someone you knew.
Now, I could be wrong.
But that's not the point.
I felt something.
That's what we filmmakers should aspire to. Producing something so good that people want to share the experience with friends and family. Releasing a film that makes people want to tell you about the time they saw it with their Dad and Brother 15 years ago. Giving people a film that makes them think about it months and years later.
Forget marketing and money. For Christ's sake, make me feel something.
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