Sunday, March 2, 2008

A Rant: "Story" isn't all that....

Nobody ever challenges the idea that if you don't have a good story, you can't make a good film. This is not true. There are elements just as important, and in my opinion, even more important than story. I'm talking about CHARACTER, CONCEPT, and IMAGERY. I love a good story as much as anyone else, but it's simply not the only key ingredient. Perhaps this is yet another influence from me getting into fine art; painters do not use story, they use mostly concept and imagery. And i've found that my favorite films and animation are of this same spirit.
Above, an image from one of my favorite films of all time, Ron Frick's "Baraka", a film that has no story, just beautiful mind blowing IMAGERY of our world and it's people. Pictured above is the memorable "Kecak" Balinese dance sequence. haven't seen this film? run to netflix.
Above is a still from Richard Linklater's "Dazed and Confused" a great movie that has no real story whatsoever, yet you just don't want it to end, you're attached to the CHARACTERS, you can just keep watching them, doesn't matter what their doing. it's the type of film like "Trees Lounge" where you feel like the movie is still going, playing out right along with the lives of the characters.
And of course, a still from Fantasia, several individual sections of this masterpiece have strong story (sorcerers apprentice, night on bald mt), but the element that makes Fantasia epic is it's connection to the music, and the CONCEPT of great classical music guiding the IMAGERY as a whole. I'm thinking about this stuff a lot lately, because i'm neck deep in a film that is dependent on imagery and music (Masks), and ironically, i think people will probably say it has the best "story" of any of my films. It's an easy mistake to confuse "Story" with "Concept". more on that another time.