By Other Voices voices@moviecitynews.com

LETTERS FROM LARRY

DEAR DAVID:

In case the readers of these posts think I’m a softie who likes everything he ever sees or who is blowing smoke up the ass of the Sundance programming staff let me clarify:

LIFE IS TOO SHORT TO PAN ALL THE BAD FILMS

There are plenty of weak or ordinary films here this year as every year at this and every festival for vastly different reasons.

If a film is weak but likely to be popular, there’s no point in attacking it.

If a film is weak and nobody is going to like it, there’s also no point in attacking it. You’re just piling on a dead horse.

There are plenty of pretty good, so-so movies you find yourself kind of liking. But if your honest in describing your reactions and all the flaws you notice, you can’t help sounding like – or being read like – you’re doing a pan. That’s the bad part of the thumbs up or down consumer culture situation we’re in. So I skip those too.

As a reader I never learn from negative reviews except for learning about the kind of thing those reviewers don’t like.

You learn more from a writer whenever they talk about what they like. You learn the most when they talk about what they love. That’s what they’re motivated to search out and see with precision.

Art, in anything from criticism to filmmaking to pingpong is that seeing with precision. Or as I think Ezra Pound said, “Art is attention.”

Larry
Sent from my iPhone

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Larry Gross is a 25 year screenwriting veteran and Winner of Sundance’s Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for his most recent release, We Don’t Live Here Anymore.

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“It’s a film festival’s job—and increasingly so—to create moments of recognition, of enjoyment, of shock, of learning. Not of consumerism. Not of implementing cultural policy. But moments without pretence, unclouded by vested interests, by intervention, by cynicism, by everyday business. Committed to nothing but the thing itself. Under obligation to nothing, to no one, not even to the filmmakers themselves. To basically seek access to a form that does not yet exist, a place no one has been to, a time that has not yet come. ’A form that thinks, and a thought that forms,’ as Jean-Luc Godard has it.”
~ Hans Hurch, late director of the Viennale

“There’s a mass belief that if you’re texting, you’re somehow not interrupting the conversation—you’re not being rude. It’s an illusion of multitasking. I started filmmaking when people didn’t expect to have a phone on set, when it would’ve been seen as unprofessional to pull out a phone. Phones have become a huge distraction, and people work much better without them. At first it causes difficulty, but it really allows them to concentrate on what they’re doing. Everybody understands. I’ve had a lot of crews thank me. With a set, we’re trying to create a bubble of alternate reality.”
~ Christopher Nolan