Sunday, June 26, 2005

raison d'etre

Had my annual filmmaking-existential crisis yesterday. There are other ones that occur more regularly but this one seems to be tied to my attendance at the Sydney Film Festival and the Dendy Awards in particular. The 'what-am-I-doing-with-my-life' was compounded by a comment from a fellow festival goer ("so your films aren't entertaining?") and by the imminent death of my partner's father/my father-in-law (filmmaking isn't a cure for the cancer of which he is dying). So the question becomes, "Why do I make films/videos?" and "who am I making them for?". I do love films' power to touch people, show beauty, inspire thought and debate, and summon up feeling. The utopian in me hopes that it can make some difference. It isn't a bad thing to be made to think about the entertainment value of the work. It doesn't seem terribly productive to subscribe to the medicinal model of filmmaking - "you should watch this even though you don't like it because it's good for you" - the moral highground and self-righteous should-ing all at once...ick!
What filmmakers are good models then for ethical, engaging, beautiful, feeling filmmaking?
Agnes Varda - I saw a wonderful collection of three of her films at the festival under the title of Cinevardaphoto. I'm in awe of her work - its warmth, it confidence and the way she manages to weave so many strands into such a beautiful thing.
Werner Herzog - The White Diamond was at the Sydney Film Festival. I walked out of the Friday night screening into rain and the transition between the city emptying itself of workers and people coming in for play. Even incredible traffic (half an hour to get from Circular Quay to Martin Place by bus!) couldn't dim the glow I felt after that film.

To make films that have heart, films that soar, to share the feeling of connectedness, transcendence and hope that films that I love instill in me.

Yeah, blah, blah, blah - I'm boring myself now.

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