Saturday, August 05, 2023

I don't know if it was Altman who told it but I remember a story about a Hollywood director from the classic years who said if you need the script to tell the story you're in trouble. Even after the talkies film is visual. That's the origin of this scene. Television changed things. I'd have no problem making a film from an AI script.  Godard would have had a problem but he'd try. You can get rid of actors too, but not cinematographers or editors.

Branko, back his old stupidity, asks if the novel was born and died with the end of bourgeois society. 
So I get to defend bourgeois capitalism against oligopoly: 

It might be good if large scale productions are reduced entirely to garbage. A24 and other independents aren't part of the AMPTP
- Great. Let's start.
- Larry was in the middle of something.
No, I wasn't. I was just killing time
waiting for Griffin.
No, finish.
What were you saying?
I was saying I've yet to meet a writer
who could change water into wine...
...and we have a tendency
to treat them like that.
Not at this studio.
A million and a half of these scripts.
It's nuts.
And I think avoidable.
Let me ask you. When was the last time
you bought a ticket to see a movie?
- You actually paid your own money?
- Last night.
Pasadena. The Bicycle Thief.
- You saw The Bicycle Thief?
- I love that. It's a great film.
It's an art movie. It doesn't count.
We're talking about movie movies.
Jesus, people.
I'm just saying there's time
and money to be saved...
...if we came up with these stories
on our own.
- Where are these stories coming from?
- Anywhere. It doesn't matter.
The newspaper.
Pick any story.
'Immigrants protest budget cuts
in literacy program. '
Human spirit overcoming human adversity.
Sounds like Horatio Alger in the barrio.
Put Jimmy Smits in it and you've got
a sexy Stand and Deliver.
- Next. Come on.
- This isn't my field.
It doesn't matter. Give it a shot. You can't lose here.
How about 'Mud slide kills 60
in slums of Chile'?
That's good. Triumph over tragedy.
Sounds like a John Boorman picture.
Slap a happy ending on it,
the script will write itself.
- Bonnie. Give me the paper.
- I don't know, Larry.
Give it a shot.
'Further bond losses
push Dow down 7.15.'
- I see Connery as Bond.
- That's funny.
It's a good thing Oliver Stone wasn't
listening to you. Where would we be?
We would have been spared
sitting through Wall Street.
- What did Wall Street do worldwide?
- 70, 75, maybe 80.
$80 million,
a couple Oscars.
I think Larry's point is well taken.
Let's move on.
Can you give us an update
on the Taylor Hackford project?
I was thinking what
an interesting concept it is
to eliminate the writer
from the artistic process.
If we can get rid of the actors and
directors, maybe we've got something.
Hello, Walter.
Make yourself at home.

Altman, in 2001

Q: You said once that there had never been a truly great film because film relies so heavily on literature and theatre. Have you seen one since?

RA: No. I think they’re getting worse! I had been quoted as saying a really good film had not been made yet, and I think the possibilities of film have not really been explored yet. Maybe there is somebody lying in a crib somewhere that will end up doing it. We still connect it too much to theatre and literature and not enough to just the image. Music has become background for it rather than something that is indigenous to the material. we give awards for the best film and awards for the best soundtrack and one doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the other. It’s a strange, bastardised type of artform and it draws on all this. It draws on theatre, the visual, performance art, literature. You can’t say, ‘This is the best film.’ This is a different film. As varied as people are.

I think the reference is to an earlier interview with Dick Cavett I discussed here

And it all connects to something I've repeated a lot recently.
That link starts a chain that begins in 2004

The most fascinating point of all applies more broadly than to Godard; it reaches out to anyone who believes that film is more important than the world. Maybe film is not the great new language of engagement with the world that Bazin hoped it would be. Perhaps it is, instead, a vehicle more suited to dreaming, sensationalism and not wanting to grow up.

And this connects again to something I haven't repeated: a short chain, two hops, to Hans Hotter, and "beloved but flawed art". I could add  "Im Abendrot" again, but that would be too much. 

Why not: Scroll down for Strauss and Riefenstahl

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