These days, first time filmmakers are making works of true strength and originality. The music video school of direction is making movies so stylish that surpassing them would lead to incomprehensability. It seams as though tomorrow’s writers and directors have very little chance to distinguish themselves from the masses of post-Tarantino, super-fancy movies. Is there any way to be something new without reinventing the entire film industry? Must we make avant-garde insanity just to stand out?
At first, I thought you were being sarcastic, but on second reading I guess you really are a fan of current cinema. I am too. I think it’s an exciting time to be making, and watching, movies.
Every few months I find myself sitting on panels where an audience member asks a "question" that is really just an excuse to say that nobody knows how to make movies anymore. (Hint to future audience members: just because you say "Don’t you agree?" at the end doesn’t turn a polemic into a question.) I try to be polite and talk about how a younger generation is used to an accellerated speed of storytelling, and doesn’t need to have the dots connected as much, but my true instinct is to tell them to shove it. Yes, Hollywood is making a lot of bad movies, but Hollywood has always made bad movies. You’re just remembering the CITIZEN KANE’s and forgetting the TARZAN AND THE TROLL PEOPLE’s.
Where I disagree with you, REJ, is whether we’ve reached any kind of zenith in storytelling or stylishness. For all the flashy techniques we’ve seen, there’s a thousand more that haven’t been invented, and the backlash against some of the current trends will likely lead to other new ideas. For example, the bullet-time effect in THE MATRIX has been played to death, but in fact it was only one application of a much more important concept: camera movement doesn’t need to be constrained to temporal reality. The next wave of filmmakers will be able to take the concept further, and find new ways to visualize impossible things.
In terms of writing, "post-Tarantino" is a poor catch-all for storytelling that seems to break the normal mold. While it’s true that PULP FICTION had a big influence on a generation of young filmmakers, a lot of the ideas we credit to Tarantino had been percolating for years in less commercially successful films. I believe they would have found their way into a hit sooner or later. (And if I were Tarantino, I’d hate to hear that we were living in a post-Tarantino era. Come on. The guy’s still in his 30’s.)
I’m not a gambler, but I’ll bet every cent I have that some enterprising writer/director will be able to identify the new ideas bubbling under the surface and incorporate them into the next revolutionary mega-blockbuster. It’s the safest wager I could make.