Thursday, December 03, 2009

What Films Inspired Filmmakers

I've been trying to avoid looking behind the scenes of many movies these recent years 'cause the more you know about the process the less magical and inspiring it seems and feels; a demystification that prevents appreciation. Like CAST AWAY, which I was in complete awe over until I saw that large portions of it were filmed in a parking lot, and that about 85% if the island was CG. Kubrick would've tried, man...

Hot off the press, as in published just last week, is a book by Geoffrey MacNab that brings redemption to the process and magic back into the fold: Film directors who inspired immensely, remembering how they experienced awe and inspiration of their own from movies they fell in love with. The book called Screen Epiphanies: Filmmakers on the Films that Inspired Them lets a plethora of renowned directors from around the globe reminisce and share with us the moment (s) they knew this is what they had to do for a living.

On of my personal favourites comes from Scotsman Danny Boyle who remembers discovering APOCALYPSE NOW:

"When I came to London for a job in the theatre, I was living in a place in Fulham with some mates. They gave me a bedroom to stay in. I was an assistant stage manager, driving the truck, sweeping up and setting up the stages. They were an amazing company called Joint Stock Theatre Company. Outside the flat in Fulham, there was this huge billboard. 

One day, this black poster went up with Apocalypse Now on it. I am sure I must have known something about it from Time Out or whatever. Anyway, I went to see it. That was the moment when everything suddenly made sense. 

I guess what it does it that it collides some of the elements of American mainstream cinema from the time and art. That was what Coppola had done in a way. What was interesting about it for me was that I was so transformed by it. 

There is something that haunts most directors, which is that we don't really do anything useful although we're thought of as being useful. He [my dad] fought in the war and contributed something and yet all I wanted him to do was watch Francis Ford Coppola's version of the war. It didn't undermine the film for me but it categorises film for me in a way. Film often runs in parallel with life and it feeds off it but I don't think it necessarily nurtures it. I don't think it necessarily contributes in the way we think it does. We, in our world, in our bubble that we work in, imagine that it does but I am not sure that it does."

Ask Santa  for it this year and share your favorite director's own moment of clarity from a movie....

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