I've had some thoughts recently that ended up being extra charged today, reading Jim Jarmusch On the Future of Independent Film: "Cinema needs to be reduced to its essential poetry" by Chris Patmore, an article from the time he was promoting Only Lovers Left Alive, and David Lynch: The Art Life Review by Chris Alexander.
In the first article Jim Jarmusch said, "I’m much more interested in seeing a film by a Greek filmmaker that made film for $200,000 than I am in seeing The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann. That’s just my taste, but cinema needs to be reduced to its essential poetry. It’s a cycle that happens, and we’re in it now, maybe forcibly by worldwide economics, and maybe that’s a very good thing."
In the second, Alexander wrote, "Well, obviously, but I mean it. As an artist, a filmmaker, when you’re operating on the fringes it is your ONLY chance to INVENT. You can literally do whatever you want. You can pour your vision and energy into breaking and remaking the rules. You can do ANYTHING."
Alexander explains his frustration with moviemakers who want to make something commercially successful over something that sheds their artistic blood, and I agree, but I also think far too many independent moviemakers try to seek some zeitgeist of a past age. No one has found something that reflects now and isn't trying to be Jarmusch, Lynch or one of the other successful independent moviemakers from decades past.
We'll recognize the new zeitgeist by how many of the movie nerds my age hate it. I don't see much of that. I hope there's more out there that I'm missing, and I'm just not paying enough attention, or I'm stuck paying too much attention to the movie nerds my age.
It reminds me that one of the things I've wanted to do is create an independent serial developed with a moviemaking art collective. There are, as anyone could say, a lot of ways such a thing could fail, but lot of ways it could also take advantage of how technology and communication take place now. We can all agree that the Marvel/Netflix, and others, are becoming increasingly hampered by their commitment to being thirteen one-hour episodes and being a single story, regardless of how best to tell the stories they're telling, but something like that could move in a way that better serves the needs of the story. It might not be, but considering how people live now, and their relationship with the Internet and smart phones as parts of their lives, and the growing strength of adhocracy in many parts of our lives, it would be in perfect shape to capture and adapt to all of that.
I kind of expect that at this point in my life, I'm not the guy to put that together, much as a part of me wants to, so I really hope some capable soul stumbles across this and steals the idea. Good luck. I only ask that you shoot me an email so I can check it out.
This was continued in The pros of the moviemaking collective serial