Posts from 15th February 2009

Feb 09

I’m Gonna Tell You A Story

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Show, don’t tell. That’s one of those screen writing mantras which you can pay £200 quid to hear at seminars booked out of the back of Empire magazine. And it was certainly a solid adage to use in silent movies, where telling would be a trial in lip-reading or like reading a kids picture book where the slow reader has control of page turning. But is narration really a ropey old get out for a movie which won’t work without it? I saw a couple of films this week which take the mid-ground on this issue. Films which would work without their narration, but are probably a bit better for it.

Actually I am not sure if Vicky Cristina Barcelona would work without its narration, which is not to say it is an integral part of the project. It seems added on as an afterthought, as if something else is needed to explain a few of the subtleties of the characters. It certainly allows Rebecca Hall and Scarlett Johansson to act with a backstory already in place, which makes their life considerably easier. The Spanish characters have to act their complexities out to us*. A new Woody Allen film is like a new Morrissey album