A few days ago, I sent around a query (see below). Why the high status
accorded films by Ruiz, Tarr, Tarkovsky, and Lynch compared to 50s and 60s
auteurs like Bergman, Fellini, or Antonioni? And is there a way to set
one's mind to enjoy them? If you're curious, I got basically two lines of
One group said that this change in taste reflected a computerized,
media-ized, and e-musicked world in which people want immediate sensation
and emotion and don't care any more about traditional ideas of motivation,
character, plot, or timing.
A much smaller, but to me more subtle group, said that this was a
difference of degree, not kind. To quote one of my respondents, "Is Lynch
any more alienating than Godard though? . . . . Are the longeurs in Béla
Tarr so much different from those in Antonioni?" I think this is an
intriguing point of view.
I still, however, have great difficulty in either enjoying these films or
analyzing them. Let's see how it all plays out, whether their current high
reputation will continue and what critics write about them in the future.
--With warm regards,
A query. As I review non-Hollywood films for our local Film Club, I am
> struck by the admiration and awards accorded filmmakers in the style of
> Raoul Ruiz, Bela Tarr, Andrei Tarkovsky, or David Lynch. They seem to me
> to be occupying the place in the pantheon that Bergman, Fellini, or
> Antonioni occupied in the '60s. Yet they also seem to me to have almost
> totally abandoned conventional ideas of story, character, and motivation
> while providing extraordinary effects in individual shots and scenes.
> Bergman famously said of Tarkovsky, that he had developed "a new language,
> true to the nature of film, as it captures life as a reflection, life as a
> Do you have any explanation for this change in taste? And how does one
> set one's mind to enjoy this kind of film?
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