21 January 2008
John Sayles, graduate of this high school, and his partner/producer, Maggie Renzi, visited us on 18 January to discuss his new movie, Honeydripper. My students were part of a group selected to watch the movie on Monday and participate in the discussion on Friday. Although some of the questions the kids asked were less than insightful, JS answered each with kindness, thought and great detail. Overall, a very satisfying and pretty cool experience.
I place Honeydripper with other JS movies I enjoy that are more tightly edited and cohesive, such as Lone Star, Eight Men Out, The Secret of Roan Inish and Matewan. Tim, who met JS after the showing of Honeydripper at Proctors on Friday night, has highly recommended Brother From Another Planet, so I must watch that soon for another point of reference.
The two JS movies I find the most frustratingly meandering are Silver City and Sunshine State. I sometimes think that I want him to be a different kind of storyteller, that my criticism is unfair and that I should try to appreciate his occasionally loose style on its own merits. I have more patience with novels that take a long time for exposition than I ever will with movies. Must be because I can put a novel down and I must watch a movie in one sitting, even those I see at home.
When I watched Roman Polanski's Knife in the Water last night, I had the same feeling, that it was 98% exposition.
As I write this, I'm reminded of my words to my students last week about reading Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart: Try to be patient! The first third of the book is exposition, and it's essential for understanding the rest.
O, irony. It rules my life.