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MCN Columnists
Mike Wilmington

Wilmington By Mike WilmingtonWilmington@moviecitynews.com

Wilmington on DVDs: My Dinner with Andre, Two Lovers, Do the Right Thing and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Two Lovers (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; James Gray, 2009 Joaquin Phoenix, in various weird ways, has suggested that James Gray‘s Brooklyn romance Two Lovers may be

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Wilmington on DVDs: Woodstock, Last Year at Marianbad, Waltz with Bashir and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music — The Director’s Cut (Four Stars) U.S.; Michael Wadleigh, 1970-1994 (Warner) Both a great rock concert movie, and a superb documentary on youth culture in the Vietnam War Years, Michael Wadleigh’s Woodstock

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Wilmington on DVDs: The Seventh Seal, At the Death House Door, Gary Cooper and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS The Seventh Seal (Two discs) (Four Stars) Sweden; Ingmar Bergman, 1957 (Criterion) Antonius Block, a dazzlingly blonde and handsome, idealistic, death-haunted knight

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Wilmington on DVDs: Gran Torino, Revolution Revisited, The Rain People, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Gran Torino (Four Stars) U.S.; Clint Eastwood, 2008 (Warner) Clint Eastwood plays a Dirty Harry guy grown old in his latest movie Gran Torino.

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Wilmington on DVDs: Revolutionary Road, Tender Mercies, Man Hunt, and more…

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW Revolutionary Road (Three-and-a-Half Stars) U. S.; Sam Mendes, 2008 (Paramount) Revolutionary Road is one of these novels I‘ve always meant to crack — like Remembrance of Things Past, or

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Wilmington

Quote Unquotesee all »

“The core fear is what can happen to you, personally. Your body. That’s what horror films deal with, precisely. We are a very thin skin wrapped around a pumping heart and guts. At any given moment it can come down to that, be it diseases, or somebody’s assault, or war, or a car wreck. You could be reduced to the simple laws of physics and your body’s vulnerability. The edged weapon is the penultimate weapon to disclose that reality to you.”
~ Wes Craven, 1996, promoting Scream

MAMET
Well, that, to me, is always the trick of dramaturgy; theoretically, perfectly, what one wants to do is put the protagonist and the audience in exactly the same position. The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always what does the protagonist want. That’s what drama is. It comes down to that. It’s not about theme, it’s not about ideas, it’s not about setting, but what the protagonist wants. What gives rise to the drama, what is the precipitating event, and how, at the end of the play, do we see that event culminated? Do we see the protagonist’s wishes fulfilled or absolutely frustrated? That’s the structure of drama. You break it down into three acts.

INTERVIEWER
Does this explain why your plays have so little exposition?

MAMET
Yes. People only speak to get something. If I say, Let me tell you a few things about myself, already your defenses go up; you go, Look, I wonder what he wants from me, because no one ever speaks except to obtain an objective. That’s the only reason anyone ever opens their mouth, onstage or offstage. They may use a language that seems revealing, but if so, it’s just coincidence, because what they’re trying to do is accomplish an objective… The question is where does the dramatist have to lead you? Answer: the place where he or she thinks the audience needs to be led. But what does the character think? Does the character need to convey that information? If the answer is no, then you’d better cut it out, because you aren’t putting the audience in the same position with the protagonist. You’re saying, in effect, Let’s stop the play. That’s what the narration is doing—stopping the play… It’s action, as Aristotle said. That’s all that it is—exactly what the person does. It’s not what they “think,” because we don’t know what they think. It’s not what they say. It’s what they do, what they’re physically trying to accomplish on the stage. Which is exactly the same way we understand a person’s character in life—not by what they say, but by what they do. Say someone came up to you and said, I’m glad to be your neighbor because I’m a very honest man. That’s my character. I’m honest, I like to do things, I’m forthright, I like to be clear about everything, I like to be concise. Well, you really don’t know anything about that guy’s character. Or the person is onstage, and the playwright has him or her make those same claims in several subtle or not-so-subtle ways, the audience will say, Oh yes, I understand their character now; now I understand that they are a character. But in fact you don’t understand anything. You just understand that they’re jabbering to try to convince you of something.
~ David Mamet

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