After studying films for decades, literally decades, my group at La Honda Films reached a point where…we had to eventually activate our own creative faculties and into the world of film making for ourselves.
We were movie hounds from our days in Chicago…remember the Triple features? Heaven!! We’d go and take in all the previews and cartoons …. Days of fun!!! Popcorn and Orange Julius…you could really have called it the Church of Film. We did.
You see, films were more than ordinary escape on the cold winter streets of Chicago in the 60’s. Films were transformative, because they take us on amazing journeys, through parallel universes, where we could learn great things, experience mighty emotions and sense ourselves in the lives of others, while earning very little personal karma and opprobrium.
This is the “karma-dharma” potential of great films, and maybe even films that just attempt to be great. We can learn many of life’s lessons, in the brilliant course of an hour and a half or so, and then return to our own lives unharmed.
This is the amazing power of film…Shakespeare the writer archetype, Van Gogh the cinema-photographer, Beethoven the sound track…
As for the actual movies? One way to start is to look at the directors. Certain directors stand out in my mind, for their work of integrating the different elements. Let’s start with two,Frank Capra and Federico Fellini
Frank Capra holds an opening spot for his story arc and belief in the power of community.
It’s a Wonderful Life is just so archetypal it’s hard to really accurately judge. I mean, the film is an “angelic intervention” with a time reframe where Jimmy Stewart meets, like Scrooge in Dicken’s work, the world altered without him.
All I know is the human touch of Capra has me openly weeping. And it gets more intense each time I watch his work – especially It’s a Wonderful Life.
Fellini for his pure genius and madness combined. Because a film production reaches a point where it’s no longer a script, it’s a film production, and the actors and the crew are slowly seizing the work for their own, delivering a film to an editor. I’s here in the trenches that the script is an idea in a writer’s mind, and then at a certain point it belongs to this “collective production soul”. Fellini understood just how insane that moment is.
The genius of Fellini was to revel in the madness, embrace it and channel it toward his final post-production.
There is a point in a story, script and film production where the “arc” is culminating …the beginning of the film is yielding to the end of the film and the middle is wandering in between. THIS is where Fellini excelled, at this mad point of no return in the story where the production is seizing its day, the writer is receding and the arc point is at its height.
Square root of negative one , where the arc is joined by the greatest of imaginary numbers. This is the genius of Fellini, to grasp the arc midpoint and allow it its own imaginary space…