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Comments on Hollywood


It was a Russian poet (Irena Ratushinskaya?) who was heard to say in a Radio interview:

"Many people ask me: "What is your advice to someone who wants to be a poet?" I always reply, "Don't! If you can possibly stop yourself from writing poetry, then stop yourself. The only good reason for writing is the impossibility of not writing.""

When I talk about Hollywood, I am talking about a way of making films - rather than a place. Hollywood has turned out some fantastic films, but the predominant attitude there is that a movie maker's business is to produce an entertainment product - to make money by meeting a consumer demand. Nothing wrong with that as such, but it is a very different kind of activity from the kind of film making that stems from an individual's unreasonable desire to communicate an idea through film.

Take a film like "Titanic". Fantastic effects, entertaining to be sure - my emotions were manipulated nicely, but was there a story? I can't remember. Boy meets girl,... plucky Irish lad proves himself better than the limeys,... have I missed anything? Oh, a boat sinks and everyone dies. But what was the film about? I don't know, so many million dollars spent and I come out of the cinema 'shaken but not stired'. To my way of thinking, "Titanic" was a waste of talent - but what do I know?

Copyright 1999 Paul Mackilligin