Monday, May 10, 2010
Every once in a while.
Now and again I get in a writing slump. Or more accurately, I can think of nothing to write about. Nothing angers or upsets me. Nothing tickles me. Nothing strikes me as interesting.
When that happens, as it does a couple times a year, I turn to my friends--Jean Renoir, Rene Clair, Billy Wilder or Preston Sturges, four of the greatest directors of all time (sorry Pytka) and see what they have to say.
Today I happened upon this quotation from Renoir: "A director makes only one movie in his life. Then he breaks it into pieces and makes it again."
There are many things that strike me about this. First, and most important, is that the fact of the matter is, there are not that many ideas in the world. I've heard it said that there are but seven jokes and seven plots in the world--everything is a variation on just a few themes.
Second, is the clarity, simplicity, authenticity and lack of pretense in Renoir's statement.
Finally, Renoir expresses no infatuation with doing something "new," "breakthrough" or the need to do such because "everything's changed."
The fact of the matter is everything hasn't changed. People are still people. And Renoir's 1939 "Rules of the Game" will tell you more about Goldman Sachs than anything you'll read in the paper or, most certainly, hear on the glib lip-flapping illusion we call the news.
Take six hours next weekend. Don't watch two baseball games. Watch instead "Rules of the Game," "Le Bete Humanite" and "Boudu Saved from Drowning."
They'll give you something to write about.
Posted by George Tannenbaum at 7:10 AM