Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ruminations on The Thin Red Line

From Michael Atkinson:

A filmmaker is rarely if ever as free as a poet or painter might be, and a feature film never represents only the labors, and intentions, of a single artist. Acres of cineastical cant and criticism and scholarship on filmmaking and directorial authorship have been accumulated over the decades, but this is the seldom-contemplated elephant in the auteurist screening room: how many great films owe their magical essence to financial pressures? How many films succeed because the ostensible artiste at their helm was compromised, or impeded, or forced to capitulate? Under most circumstances, we as viewers can forgo any such contextual consideration; the film is the film, period, however it may have arrived in its final figuration. But what if there were two versions of, say, Citizen Kane, one linear and simplified, one twisted into the neurotic hall-of-cracked-mirrors we know today? And what if Welles's ambition had first been aimed toward the first? We are unlikely to see "alternate" versions of Malick's masterpiece, whether formally more traditional or less, but even if we do, I doubt I’ll ever surrender my ardor for the woozy, meditative, heartbroken film with which Malick ended up, whatever its provenance.

Read the whole thing

HT: Looking Closer

No comments: