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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“Yes, yes, yes. Now I am also the producer on Jean-Luc’s films, so I need to raise the money. Yes, there are two projects in preparation with the pretext of virtual reality. We are beginning with two approaches: we can either do or undo VR. Maybe we will undo it more than we do VR, because thinking about VR leads to the opposite of VR. Is there concrete imagination in virtual reality? For me, cinema is concrete imagination because it’s made with the real and uses it. VR, virtual reality, is totally the opposite of that, but it might be interesting to use this and then to destroy it. No, we’ll see, we’ll see. First, it’s just an idea of a beginning. There is a forest to cross, and we are just at the beginning of the forest. The first step is development. As they say in business, first there is development and research. We have to develop somehow an idea for the film; I won’t say a script, but to see what we can do with this system, and what we can undo with this system.”
~ Fabrice Aragno On Godard’s Next Projects

“Why put it in a box? This is the number one problem I have—by the way it’s a fair question, I’m not saying that—with this kind of festival situation is that there’s always this temptation to classify the movie immediately and if you look at it—and I’ve tried to warn my fellow jurors of this—directors and movie critics are the worst people to judge movies! Directors are always thinking, “I could do that.” Critics are always saying, “This part of the movie is like the 1947 version and this part…” And it’s like, “Fuck! Just watch the movie and try and absorb it and not compare it to some other fucking movie and put it in a box!” So I think the answer’s both and maybe neither, I don’t know. That’s for you to see and criticize me for or not.”
~ James Gray