Salvo editor interviews filmmaker Barbara Nicolosi who discusses the importance of story, chiefly how stories (in this case through film) allows the viewer to "reach beyond themselves" and touch the deep truths that lie beyond us and, ultimately, make us more human. The problem, Nicolosi says, is that nobody knows how to tell a good story anymore, so movies are crafted to offer either overpowering sensations (the blockbusters), or limpid nihilism (the movies "with no ending"). "Christian" themed movies rank high on this scale of mediocrity as well. Technically sub-par, they offer only a flat storyline that amounts to "porn for the mind."
Stories, says Nicolosi, are a series of questions coupled with paradox. But those questions have to mirror life as it is, and at the same time express them more powerfully than we actually experience them. If a movie is any good, people will "brood" over it; they will think about the character, the conflicts, the paradoxes, the consequences, and more long after it ends. Most movies today are not made this way. Deeper truths are conveyed through stories; narrative is the means by which we receive, comprehend, and pass on truth. But people today don't understand this anymore, Nicolosi says, especially Gen-X'ers. They have no experience with literature, and the only movies they've seen ignore the story-telling craft altogether.
Readers who want to dig a bit deeper into these themes can read Vigen Guroian's, "Moral Imagination, Humane Letters, and the Renewal of Society," and Russell Kirk's, "The Moral Imagination."
From the Salvo website:
Salvo 3 spoke with screenwriter Barbara Nicolosi about the importance and influence of movies. Well, we were so impressed with her insights that we decided to check in with her on a quarterly basis to help us keep tabs on the messages emanating from Hollywood. We are calling this ongoing series of interviews “R&R”—as in “rest and recreation”—but you will soon realize that Nicolosi views filmgoing as anything but a passive activity. Rather, she would have us audience members thoroughly scrutinize what we see at our theaters and multiplexes, noting not only the craft of a given movie, but also the ideas that it communicates. It is thus somewhat fitting that we begin our conversations together with a discussion of the 2008 Academy Awards. For perhaps nowhere are a culture’s attitudes and perspectives more apparent than in the films that it celebrates.
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Bobby Maddex is editor of "Salvo Magazine."
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