Have you seen HBO's "Temple Grandin" starring Claire Danes? Well, I am not, as you know, fond of critics and their reviews, so this post really isn't about the movie as much as it is about what the movie proved to me.
I believe, though I may not be skilled enough to practice it yet, that all art requires a certain amount of invisibility of the artist. When one listens to music, as they do, they shouldn't be constantly reminded that there is a musician behind the notes. When one reads a book, they should notice the story and not the writer behind it's words. And when one watches a film they should not be shelled with evident camera movements, over acting, one liners and strange production design that could risk taking the viewer out of the story and into the film. After all, a film, or a novel, is simply the telling of a story. A tradition that dates back beyond recorded history, where one person, or many, would stand before their listeners and, simply, tell a story.
I digress. "Temple Grandin", though no big stars grace it's credits and no famous art house director was calling it's shots and no Kaufman was behind it's words, was, I dare say, one of the best film I have ever seen. And I claim this for one reason and one reason only. Yes it had spectacular and poignant acting, yes it was a very technically competent film, but neither of these are the reason I speak of. The reason is the film's unparalleled achievement in, what I think is the most important aspect of a film, the suspension of disbelief. It wasn't about the directing, writing or acting. It was about the story. The visible edge of filmmaking was nowhere to be seen or felt.
If you are having trouble grasping my point, compare my thoughts to say, "Smoking Aces". A wonderful film that I enjoyed very much, but while watching, was constantly reminded of how cool the film actually was. It wasn't about the story, it was about the film.
I know a lot of screenwriters, but not as many storytellers and the spread is ever widening. As an artist there is a desire to show yourself in your work, I know for I am guilty of just this, but perhaps an artist will appear in their work whether they try to or not, and when one tries, they compromise that elusive and sweet suspension of disbelief, the story.