Richard Brody on Independent Films

Richard Brody has a very interesting article in a recent New Yorker where he weighs in on an in-the-media argument between Robert Downey, Jr. and Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu (the director of Birdman) on the relative value of superhero films vs.independent films. Brody praises the mythologizing values of the superhero film, while also pointing out how their mega-budgets means more studio interference, and less chance for a singular artistic vision to shine through.

But then he adds warnings about the dangers of the independent film too.

“… there’s a decadent side to independence…and there’s an aesthetic failing that follows as well: the shibboleth of the self-effacing director who gives his or her performers the space in which to shine, and who, in fact, makes films in which the actors are compelled to do the bulk of the work. The special mediocrity of independent films is the lack of direction and of production alike”

This is what I have been getting at it many recent posts, how easy it is to lose sight of the fact that it is important for art to offer something true, and that the style of the film – the collision between what the filmmaker is trying to say and how the film says it – and the experience of the audience – what the audience experiences during the film and what they take away from it – is more important than the mechanics of plot, or as Brody points out, even the performances themselves.

The whole article is worth reading.

Advice for Robert Downey, Jr. in The New Yorker.



Archives