Monday, February 26, 2007

Ribbon of Dreams

I came across this article today written by one of my heroes, Orson Welles. I normally agree with what he says in regards to movies, but not this critique on the wide screen process. Yes, bigger is not always better. But a lot of good directors use the full frame to tell their story. Many directors cringe when they see clips of their films "panned and scanned". And I cringe with them.

However, this part of the article expresses Welles's eloquence on the matter of being an artist.
A film is never really good unless the camera is an eye in the head of a poet.

Distributors, naturally, are all of the opinion that poets don’t sell seats. They do not discern whence comes the very language of the cinema.

Without poets, the vocabulary of the film would be far too limited ever to make a true appeal to the public. The equivalent of a babble of infants would not sell many seats. If the cinema had never been fashioned by poetry, it would have remained no more than a mechanical curiosity, occasionally on view like a stuffed whale.

Everything that lives—and in consequence, everything commercially saleable—derives from the ability of the camera to see. It does not see naturally in place of an artist, it sees with him. The camera at such instants is far more than a registering apparatus; it is a means by which come to us messages from the other world and which let us into the great secret. This is the beginning of magic. But the charm cannot work unless the eye of the camera also is human....

I think this sentiment can be applied to anything creative: film, music, literature. Be a poet in your craft.