Search Film Reviews

Monday, August 11, 2014

From the Mouths of Filmmakers: Lukas Kendall

Lukas Kendall
By Lukas Kendall and Joshua Handler 

Recently I've been disturbed by the amount of people who don't seek out independent films, non-English-language films, and classics.  So, I asked some of the most distinctive voices in independent and world cinema to submit responses to a few questions about why/if they think indies/non-English-language films/classics are important to view, and how those films have been influential on their careers.

The responses below are from Lukas Kendall, co-writer/executive producer of Lucky Bastard, one of 2014's most underrated films and one of the best found-footage films in recent years.  That film shows that the genre has some life left in it.  I interviewed Lukas and his co-writer, co-executive producer, and the director of Lucky Bastard back in February.  That interview can be found here.

Lukas decided to answer the questions all at once. Here are the questions and below them are Lukas' responses:

Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view independent and world cinema and why?

Do you feel that it is important for aspiring filmmakers and filmgoers to view films of the past and why?

How has viewing indies and films from around the world helped you as a filmmaker?

What's one American film and one film not in English that you would recommend that film-lovers or young/aspiring filmmakers see?
I would prefer to answer all four of these questions at once. It is essential for a filmmaker to immerse him or herself in movies from different eras and countries for the simple reason that movies are not just pictures and sound. They are art, which is to say, they are about the meaning of life and all the subtleties and ambiguities of existence. If you are inspired by only one kind of movie—let’s say, modern-day genre films—you are being locked into only one set of cultural assumptions about life. For an artist to say something about life, he or she has to ask questions—and I don't see how anybody can ask questions without being aware of the possibilities of different ideas about aesthetics and cultural mores of everything under the sun, from gender to political to social issues and more. (It goes back to the heralded David Foster Wallace commencement address about fish swimming in water—read it!) 
Watching movies from other eras and cultures is not the entire answer, but it gives you insight into the vast amount of cultural baggage that we all carry, and you can begin to do more than simply replicate what you see in current films. (It will also let you trace the origins of trends and innovations that might otherwise strike you as having been cut from whole cloth—in almost all cases, they’re not.) There is something to be said for originality that is spontaneous, but also originality that is inspired by efforts from the past and other cultures. It would be hard to recommend only one film or era, but I would single out the French New Wave as critical to explore, from the avant-garde Godard masterpieces to the more romantic films by Truffaut.
From the Mouths of Filmmakers continues on Wednesday. 

No comments:

Post a Comment