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Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Comments on "filmmaker-on-filmmaker insults" and some thoughts on films

A rather interesting article: http://flavorwire.com/200745/the-30-harshest-filmmaker-on-filmmaker-insults-in-history/view-all/


1/ I see very well why some people find Quentin Tarantino overrated. In a sense he is. Not that he is without talent because in fact he's a very gifted filmmaker. From dialogue to camera angles, from creation of characters to casting, from choosing music to creating memorable or even iconic moments, in these aspects I admire him very much. But I wouldn't go as far as calling him the greatest, most talented, film director of his generation/ of today, as many people have done. Some weeks ago, for example, I saw a watchmojo video that ranked him as no.3, below Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg. The flaw of Quentin Tarantino's films is, he has nothing to say. I've watched "Kill Bill" and "Django unchained" and "Inglourious basterds" and "Pulp fiction" and "Reservoir dogs". His films lack depth, he has nothing to say, he's not interested in telling a story and not interested in the real world. He makes films about films. They can be entertaining and very witty and very memorable but they aren't really deep, touching or thought-provoking.
I place Quentin Tarantino above Christopher Nolan and Terrence Malick and David Fincher but below Paul Thomas Anderson and the Coen brothers and perhaps Darren Aronofsky.

2/ On the other hand, Jean-Luc Godard is too political. Of course, my opinion of Godard is mostly prejudice, considering that I have watched only "Vivre sa vie" and "Pierrot le fou" and a bit of "Alphaville" and a part of "À bout de souffle" and perhaps a part of something else, but I can see what a Godard film is like. In spite of everything I would prefer Quentin Tarantino to those Marxists like Jean-Luc Godard and Bernando Bertolucci. His characters talk too much and philosophise too much. Put it this way, to me a film is a visual experience, not a verbal one. For words, we already have literature, poetry. People may disagree with me because film directors may have different ideas and styles and approaches, I'm also aware that Godard's original, revolutionary and extremely influential, but film is a different medium from literature and I think a film director fails when he puts all of his social and political and philosophical ideas in the mouths of his actors instead of conveying them through images, scenes, moments, the characters' actions, the story, etc. I love what Stanley Kubrick does with images. Most recently, I've watched "8 1/2" by Federico Fellini and loved the movements of the camera and of the actors and how they combine, and the use of the dream sequences to demonstrate Guido's mental state as he faces midlife crisis and writer's block and pressure from different sides. 
Godard, I think, relies too heavily on words.

3/ The Steven Spielberg films I've watched are "The colour purple", "A.I: Artificial intelligence", "Catch me if you can", "The terminal", "Indiana Jones and the kingdom of the crystal skull" and "Lincoln". I'm not head over heels in love with Steven Spielberg (I know many people are). But then, I haven't seen most of his most important and acclaimed films, such as "Raiders of the lost ark", "Jurassic park", "Schindler's list", "Saving private Ryan", "Minority report", "Munich", "War horse" and the other Indiana Jones films, so what right do I have to say about him at all? The only thing to say now is, I do see him as talented but not as a favourite, and it's understandable why some people don't esteem him highly because Steven Spielberg may be seen as making films mostly for the audience and rarely making a very personal one.

4/ Jacques Rivette's criticism of Stanley Kubrick is comprehensible. As a Kubrick fan, I can't agree, but I understand it, because it's true that Kubrick remains detached from his characters and has a rather cold way of telling stories, especially in "Barry Lyndon". But that is his style, his purpose, the same way some writers keep a certain distance from their characters (Kafka, Flaubert...) Perhaps it's because of this coldness that I don't like "Barry Lyndon" as much as "Dr Strangelove", "The killing", "A clockwork orange"..., where he's also cold but doesn't have to be warm, but I can't say. Whether or not one likes him, I think, is personal.

5/ I, like David Cronenberg, dislike M. Night Shymalan. He made 1 good film, "The 6th sense", and made an entire career out of it. In fact, when I look at the Rotten tomatoes reception of his films, I don't get why producers still pay for his projects.

6/ I've never heard of Uwe Boll. It seems that he, Ed Wood of the 21st century, looks like a talentless but obnoxious, megalomaniac and childish person. Rather amusing.

7/ Vincent Gallo, as it seems, isn't much different from Uwe Boll in his ridiculousness and inability to take criticism. Reading those quotes in the flavorwire article I can't have any respect for this guy. The only thing I find acceptable, without agreeing with, is the one about Martin Scorsese, because he's talking about Marty as a director, not as a person, but it's his opinion. Very silly indeed, but it's his opinion. But he insults and speaks ill of the others, and has also insulted Roger Ebert. That's purely horrendous and revolting, and those statements say more about Vincent Gallo than about the people he's attacking. In his private home he can say anything he pleases, but in public, that's obnoxious.

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