Rian Johnson - film visionaire

In the history of movies many great directors have emerged - Orson Welles, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, Robert Altman spring to mind - with more up their sleeves than just making money. Directors with a real sense of art. And in a time where movies would cost you a kidney to make it was already an accomplishment if you stayed mainstream to get a big studio to cough up the dough. I can only imagine the discussion with a studio exec trying to pitch a movie like 'Lost Highway'...!

Nowadays, with desktop computers faster than the combined power of all the computers of the Apollo missions together, making a movie that only a handful of people will want to watch has gotten a lot easier. Thus it's no wonder more and more very talented new directors are sharing their - often quirky - idea of movie making with the world. And one of the quirkiest directors around has to be Rian Johnson, writer, director, musician and inventor of some of the strangest movie-mash-ups ever.

Mr. Johnson's first movie was an amalgam of high school (John Hughes-style) and film noir (Dashiell Hammett-style), honoring both genres with equal respect. But, as it turned out, fans of high school movies don't like film noir and film noir afficionados don't dig high school movies, so, although a huge critical success, 'Brick' wasn't the commercial success every self-respecting film studio would have wanted it to be. So, what to do for an encore? Mr. Johnson decided to combine slapstick with Russian literature. That will draw the people in in flocks, won't it? Well, it didn't. Personally 'the Brothers Bloom' is one of my favourite movies of all time, but commercially it bombed harder than one of Bang-Bang's little gadgets. Bummer.

And then there is the expression: 'third time is the charm'.

Instead of trying to mix another emulsion, mr. Johnson came up with his personal '2001: a space odyssey', a movie that is still a Griffon-like contraption, but disguised as a kind of movie not only die-hard movie buffs would enjoy, but 'Die Hard' fans as well. And though he succeeded admirably, 'Looper' still hasn't struck gold. And, personally I kinda like that. There are enough movie makers who sell out to join the establishment, but I still remember the heartfelt handshake between Lynch and Altman on Oscar night 2002 (here, around 1:29 in). Both directors were nominated, both lost (to 'A Beautiful Mind') and both heaved a sigh of relief. Both were terrified to be expected to join the establishment. Remember: 'Citizen Kane' didn't win an Oscar for best movie, but is still considered (one of) the best movie(s) ever made. And Orson Welles one of the most anti-establishment persons ever.

So, here is to 'Looper' not winning the Oscar for best movie 2013. And for Rian Johnson never joining the establishment. True film visionaires don't.

Published on 30 November 2012 at 18:00 under . Tags , , ,

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