Saturday, January 24, 2009

Links: Directors/Choices

There's an interesting discussion on the religious/Christian elements of auteurism in the comments to Dave Kehr's post on (appropriately enough) the new Magnificent Obsession Criterion set. For what it's worth, the less I approach auteurism as a religion, the more comfortable I am as an auteurist. To use Kent Jones' words, I find it to be "a fairly simple but useful way of looking at movies". (Which might mean that from a hard core auteurist's perspective that I don't really have what it takes!) But the question of faith vs. evidence is interesting. For me, evidence comes first, but faith plays a part. I mean: it's the greatness of Wagon Master and Going My Way (evidence) that makes me willing to jump into the deep end with Donovan's Reef and Satan Never Sleeps (faith).

There's also some back-and-forth over what "Sirkian" means. One of the issues that commenters seem to be skirting around is that the renewed interest in Sirk is partly due to a convergence of auteurist interests with camp aficionado interests. While the auteurist impulse is to take in the whole body of work and find the underlying connections, the camp aficionado focuses on the most extreme expressions of Sirk's aesthetic.

Via Tom Spurgeon, some outrage over the casting of M. Night Shyamalan's live-action Avatar adaptation. I'm a little surprised that these casting decisions were so boneheaded. I wonder if the commercial failure of Lady in the Water - which had a Utopian multi-cult vibe - made M. Night shy away from fighting for a more diverse cast. Also, I'm not very familiar with Avatar - I've half-watched an episode or two and have always meant to go through the DVDs at some point - but it does not strike me as material that is particular suited to Shyamalan's sensibilities/strengths*. A fun game: (1) Name an adaptation where a seemingly bad director/material pairing made for a good movie. (2) Name an adaptation where a seemingly good director/material pairing made for a bad movie. A bit depressing that question (2) is probably a lot easier to answer than question (1).

Via Richard Modiano at a_film_by: I liked this interview with Bertrand Tavernier. FWIW, I agree with him about John Ford, not so much about George Lucas. I had seen a few Tavernier movies over the years, but none made an impact until Safe Conduct, which I watched on DVD last year. I really loved it and am now looking forward to catching up with the rest of his movies.

And, if you haven't already, be sure to check back through all the posts that came out of Ed Howard's "Early Hawks Blog-a-Thon" which wrapped up yesterday. Lots of interesting posts, but I especially liked Glenn Kenny's on Walter Brennan's proto-Stumpy performances.

*Which I say as a huge Shyamalan fan.

1 comment:

fucoid said...

people actually talk like this? debating the maning of Sirkian? thank god i didn't go to film school. thank jesus. and you too.