some wild coincidence

Film Concurrently with watching Hitchcock's films, I'm reading Truffaut's life long interview with him, which began with fifty hour long interview in 1962 and was then supplemented throughout the director's life. Though filmed footage of the master exists from various documentaries (some of which turned up in the Merton documentary on BBC Four) this is a far more intimate exploration of the work from a cineaste perspective, with some wonderful insights into his processes and choices in between the anecdotes. Here is one of them.

"To insist that a storyteller stick to the facts is just as ridiculous as to demand of a representative painter that he show objects accurately. What's the ultimate in representative painting? Colour photography. Don't you agree? There's quite a difference you see, between the creation of a film and the making of a documentary. In the documentary the basic material has been created by God, whereas in the fiction film the director is the god; he must create life. And in the process of that creation, there are lots of feelings, forms of expression, and viewpoints that have to be juxtaposed. We should have total freedom to do as we like, just so long as it's not dull. A critic who talks to be about plausibility is a dull fellow."

For years I've seen reviewers, professional and amateur that hinge their discussion of the quality of a film on its plausibility, grinding my teeth as they've noted something must be rubbish because it would never happen, no matter how well written, directed, edited, photographed and acted it might be. This becomes even more annoying when the work is in once of the fantastical genres like sci-fi were the laws of physics have already been chucked out of the window. People will accepts such things as sound in space, artificial gravity and teleportation beams but god forbid a missile is shown hitting the sun inside the requisite minutes it takes for light to reach the Earth.

For years I've been looking for something to back up my contention that so long as it's entertaining, makes it's point and doesn't leave muddy footprints on the carpet it doesn't matter if not everything is explained (apart from the party scene in The Dark Knight and this is a special case - what happens to the Joker after Bats jumps out of the window after Maggie?). And here it is. And I can't wait to deploy it next time someone moans about the TARDIS pulling Earth back into its orbit the kinds of wild coincidences that fuel Hyperlink dramas such as Crash.

Hitch later talks about The Birds and how an ornithologist happens to be in the cafe when an explanation is needed at to the fowl's foul behaviour. He says he could have added a couple of scenes to explain her presence but no one would really be that interested and I'm amazed at how many modern films take time to introduce this kind of exposition repository and give them a proper character even though they only really have this one function. Film would be much shorter and snappier if the director or writer could simply trust the audience to understand the language of cinema a bit.

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