Genious Behind the Camera

Posted by prla1983 on January 22, 2007 • 0 commentsEmail This Post

I tend to think of myself as someone who enjoys good cinema. One could argue that may not be exactly the case, considering I'm very impatient with the films I see and often grow tired and move on midway into them. Which is kind of weird, I must add, considering I have seen my favorite movies countless times. Still, on the other hand, at 23, I don't think I have reached a plateau of, shall I say, understanding, which would allow me to truly appreciate many so-called works of art. Unfortunately, at this stage so many things compete for my attention that it's not easy to work towards solving this shortcoming of mine. I feel the same thing towards many other types of art, mostly painting and to a much lesser degree, music.

Since I can remember, I've always been aware of such masterpieces as Doctor Zhivago, The Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia. Earlier today as I went shopping for groceries and other assorted trivialities, I came across a sale of low-price books and ended up (against my wishes, but that's entirely a story for another post) buying a couple of them.

One was Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier. I never saw the Anthony Minghella directed 2004 movie (which incidentally won an oscar and grabbed a few nominations), but saw Neil Peart recommending it in one of his books while alluding to his having read it. Since then, and probably thanks to the way he spoke about the book, I've been intending to buy it and that's what I did today.

The other was a low-budget edition of The Bridge on the River Kwai. My father has always told me great things about the movie, which he saw countless times back in the day, but just like Cold Mountain, I never got around to it. Now I found the book on which it was based and an impulse stirred in me to buy it. Afterall, I always preferred to read the books that originated the movies and not the other way around. I've always hated movie books that come after the book. Always sounded to me like a senseless opportunity to cash in and that, obviously, sucks from a "mere" artistic point of view.

I'm currently going through a couple of other books, Newtow's Wake and Martin Eden, having just finished The Art of Travel (these later two being yet another two examples of Peart recommendations, I have a tendency to follow them), so I'm not touching the new two acquisitions yet, but I was inclined to check out the IMDb movie page anyway. Digging a bit deeper, noticed that David Lean, English filmmaker born in 1908, was the director for River Kwai and that he got an Academy Award for it. What surprised me was that he's also the director for both Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, both huge classics, of which the latter also granted him the Academy Award for best director. Another interesting tidbit was noticing how some great directors constantly rely on a favorite actor, in this Alec Guiness, much in the same vein ToshirĂ´ Mifune was Kurosawa's wildcard.

David Lean has already gone on to a better place, but his genious endures. I've always wondered what makes these people really tick, what makes them relentlessly turn over these works of art. I still don't know how to answer that particular question, but Lean is certainly yet another example of such.

And I didn't see any of those three films yet. Shame on me.


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