Saturday, November 15, 2003

Just finished watching the second part of The Seven Samurai (1954). Favourite line: "My daughter has been seduced!"

Going to watch some French surrealist film Mr. O lent me. For my Writer's Craft ISU, I've decided to compare how surrealist movies have changed, while retaining the fundamental principles of that genre through the years. Here's the kicker: I also have to write a 20 page film script that embodies the criteria.

Ideas? I have a couple. Might they work? Doubt it. Salvador Dali's Un Chien Andalou (1928) is about as surreal as you can get. Sliced eyeball fades into a full moon? Donkey carries a baby grand on its back? People happily buried to their necks in sand? A silent short-film that was nothing but a montage of images. Fellini's La Strada (1954) depicts the story of a travelling carnival, where the three carnie acts represent the mind, body, and soul. Spike Jonze directed Being John Malkovich (1999) about what it would be like to live inside someone else for 15-minutes. To see what they see, to hear what they think, to understand someone so completely and objectively, through alien eyes.

Here lies the problem. What should my script be about? A romantic comedy? A revenge tragedy? A revenge comedy? A dramatic knock-'em-sock-'em Western? There's just so many to choose from. Maybe, like the saying goes, I should write what I know. I know myself. I know people. I know school. I know teenage isolation. I know forced starvation. I know incessant manipulation. I know food. I know games. I know verbal diarrhea. But I'm also wondering if my creative fulcrum should be the setting or dialogue? School is not original, so everything else has to be. Should my script take place in a nudist colony? Is that surreal enough or a blatant attempt to stand out? Maybe I should just play it straight. Make one aspect strangely exotic, then taking a serious stab at writing down the genuine way in which people might react to it.

Now we're cookin'. Okay, so I've decided that the story will center around school and its students. But what could that one odd, significant, detail be? Simplicity is key. Can't be too out there. And talking books will just end up changing the script into a fantasy Harry Potter-number.

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