Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

More on length vs. brevity...

To follow on my previous post about how some people say cut, cut, cut to make things tighter and better, I remembered a couple years ago TCM was showing Kurosawa's Seven Samurai with a guest host alongside Robert Osborne -- was it Rose McGowen? Rachel McAdams? I don't really remember.

Now so far as I'm concerned, this is a brilliant film I can watch over and over and over, about how in old Japan seven samurai are hired to protect a village of farmers from a marauding band of thieves. It's long, and has fight scenes that are still beyond belief, even today. It influenced action films for decades. So I made time to watch it...again.

The intro by Osborne and the co-host was nice, the film was magnificent, but then came the discussion afterwards. And both Osborne and the co-host dissed the film for being too long. I think a comment the co-host made was, "All right, I get it already, let's move on." And Osborne agreed. He has a wealth of knowledge about film and its history...and he went along with the idea a classic Japanese film was too detailed for an American audience.

I was livid. There is not one tedious moment in that movie, to me -- from the realization the bandits will be back to loot the village to the long, hard search for samurai willing to fight for room and board only to the preparations for protection and counter-attack to the tensions between the samurai and the people they've sworn to help to the final skirmishes...the movie builds and builds and builds like a symphony until the final battle in the driving rain. It shows the whole of human emotion and decency and venality.

And they got bored until the big fight. They felt a lot of the village stuff could have been cut out or down. Completely ignored the full measure of the movie and only thought of how it should be for an audience of 12 year-olds.

I haven't watched TCM since.

No comments: