If Shakespeare was right in saying that art is meant to hold a mirror up to the world, then cinema has the greatest capacity to reflect the truth of our humanity back to us. It also has the greatest capacity to distort the human experience in the same way a funhouse mirror can stretch our best and worst features to comic or tragic extremes. Yet cinema has one very unique quality that no mirror will ever have – the capacity to make us believe that its reflection of life is life itself. “Art is the lie that tells the truth,” claimed Picasso, and never is that lie more compelling than when it is viewed on a big screen in a dark room.

We filmmakers have a responsibility when we create our believable betrayals of reality: We are responsible to be honest that we dismantle reality and reconstruct it. The truth is not what we do; the truth is what the audience discovers for themselves.

Volumes have been written about the “magic of cinema,” but there is an abiding mystery about why certain motion pictures have the power to cast spells over us so that we eagerly forget we are experiencing only a reflection of the world. I am fascinated by that phenomenon, when our willing suspension of disbelief is like an enchanted state in which we are dreaming the motion picture as life. We are not dreaming from our own subconscious; we are dreaming the filmmaker’s dream.

I am a sorcerer’s apprentice, honing my skills in the craft of cinematic magic from the work of the masters before me: Chaplin, Lang, Welles, Hitchcock, Wilder, Resnais, Truffaut, Kubrick, Spielberg, Scott, Lee, Darabont, Jarmusch.

I believe the making and sharing of motion pictures is a human adventure of discovery. It is a journey through the looking-glass, to see what you could not see elsewhere. For me, the cinema is a dialectical experience between filmmaker and viewer, the alchemy of which is a sense of truth about what it means to be – it the end – human. Who I am as a film artist is fluid and mercurial and this process of discovery for me is intensely intimate, necessarily risky, often painful. It is ultimately as private an experience as anything else we seek to do behind closed doors. Yet I am driven to have you dream my dream.

That drive to make films comes from a peculiar sort of storytelling madness that all filmmakers seem to share. The process of filmmaking rather requires a certain lack of rationality: it requires a certain belief – if brief – in the impossible, which all films are at the outset. But I do not make films in order to show myself to the world. And as such I do not hope – nor intend – that you find me in my artwork. My aim is that you may catch a glimpse of yourself, for better or worse, that you would not have acknowledged otherwise. And in that moment of communion, we share the transcendent experience of being human.

In a flash, it is gone – and yet somehow, the reflection lingers …

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