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November 2, 2008

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The Ecstasy of Influence

What a sublime paragraph:

Artists who believe in the mystique of originality are often reluctant to reveal their inspirations. But the magpielike Mr. Desplechin revels in what the writer Jonathan Lethem has called the ecstasy of influence. “I didn’t invent anything,” he said. “Being a director is not such a grand thing. My job is just to show the audience what I love.”

Mr. Desplechin’s movie looks terrific.

Posted November 2, 2008 at 12:10 | Comments (5) | Permasnark
File under: Briefly Noted


Jeez, seriously, you have got to read this movie review.

"The sensation of being swept along like a wide-eyed adolescent, lost in an empire of signs..." -- this is good stuff!

"While writing he adheres to a principle borrowed from François Truffaut: four ideas per minute. This explains the multiple and sometimes competing layers of meaning in his films, which are routinely described — by critics unaccustomed to this much detail and texture in cinema — as 'novelistic.'"

I believe in Truffaut's idea as well.

Wow -- I absolutely love that rule of thumb. Mostly b/c it's so concrete and quantitative. "Two cups of water for every cup of pasta." "Four ideas per minute."

It reminds me of the training for writers at the Poynter Institute: It was all wonderfully concrete and practical -- tools for craftsmen, not theories for critics.

Roy Peter Clark's Writing Tools is a recent (and terrific) compendium of those techniques.

And 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School is similar. (And like Writing Tools, it's applicable to lots of things outside its advertised discipline.)

Any analogous works for other media or other crafts that you can think of?

The great thing about binding yourself to a concrete, quantitative model like that is that it 1) liquidates whatever parts of your personality might get in the way and 2) commits you to excess.

his movie is pretty terriffic, too. no king & queens, but still.

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