Monday, July 28, 2014

How the Movie of our life ends: Linklater's film 'BoyHood' and Duncan Watts' book 'Everything is Obvious'

VICE Meets: Richard Linklater on the Making of "Boyhood"
Director Richard Linklater describes 'Boyhood' (2014) as a meditation on "Growing up, its about time passing and life going on". Linklater is adept at incorporating grand existential themes in his films. As the movie was shot and written over the span of 12 years, it reflects the malaise and meandering we have through the passage of time. Like any good narrative the viewer remains uncertain as to how it will develop or end, the unconventional filmmaking process making the stakes higher. This is reflected in Grantland's 'Straight to Video' review of the film
CHRIS CONNELLY: (4m 21s) He, I feel hasn't settled into a rhythm yet because he doesn't know where the story is going and that's the thing that's so interesting. So big things can't happen in quite the same way we expect from a movie because he's remaining open - Rick is - to what's gonna happen next in these kid's lives.
Without spoiling the movie, 'BoyHood' closes with several beats which might have constituted an "ending" had they been handled by another Writer/Director. In keeping with the theme of time passing and mirroring life itself Linklater chooses an unassuming scene to ultimately punctuate a narrative told with such moments.

I'm currently in the process of reading two books, 'Outliers' by Malcolm Gladwell and 'Everything is Obvious' by Duncan J. Watts. I was surprised through the course of reading both that they contradicted each other. Duncan cautions against Post Hoc fallacies, not to be misled by conclusions drawn after the fact. In 'Chapter 5: History, the Fickle Teacher' with subheadings like "History cannot be told while it's happening" and "Whoever tells the best story wins" he describes the difficulty in evaluating something as ephemeral as a moment in time.
'Everything is Obvious [*Once You Know the Answer]:
How Common Sense Fails' by Duncan Watts
Chapter 5: History, the Fickle Teacher
Within the narrow confines of a movie narrative, it seems obvious the right time to evaluate everything should be at the end. But in real life, the situation is far more ambiguous. Just as the characters in a story don't know when the ending is, we don't know when the movie of our own life will reach its final scene. And even if we did, we could hardly go around evaluating all choices, however trivial, in light of our final state on our deathbed. In fact, even then we couldn't be sure of the meaning of what we accomplished...
In reality, the events that we label as outcomes are never really endpoints. Instead, they are artificially imposed milestones, just as the ending of a movie is really an artificial end to what in reality is an ongoing story. And depending on where we choose to impose an "end" to a process, we may infer very different lessons from the outcome.
Linklater offers this epiphany on his process, "I guess the key thing is to still think it's worth it". A friend recently remarked as we evaluated the intervening decade since we'd known each other - "As long as you're happy today, you'll have no regrets about your past because everything was leading up to this point".

Find other posts that reference Richard Linklater
- 'Loz in Transit' on the radio: Talking 'Waking Life' and existentialism
- Searchlab Lecture: Richard Linklater talking about being at peace with your art
- Home Movies: 'Before Sunrise' - "I've never been anywhere" quote
Anticipation for 'Before Midnight' and why 'Before Sunrise' is my favorite movie (No Spoilers)
Anticipation for 'Boyhood' and why Richard Linklater is my favorite director
How the Movie of our life ends: Linklater's film 'BoyHood' and Duncan Watts' book 'Everything is Obvious'

No comments:

Post a Comment