Variety Wonders if Directors Have Too Much Freedom
The studio-supported maverick is back, with many directors of this year's awards contenders being given the kind of free rein once enjoyed by the New Hollywood rebels of the 1970s.What the hell? NO! Of course directors are not given too much freedom. In many cases they aren't given enough. Studio meddling is what kills films more often that not. Take a look at Kevin Smith's hilarious account of dealing with studio moguls while working on a new Superman film.
But with more than just a few two-hour-plus, arty, idiosyncratic films in the mix this year, there's an air of concern surrounding these auteur gambles.
If "the enemy of art is the absence of limitations," as Orson Welles once said, is this trend dangerous, both artistically, with the risk of self-indulgence, and commercially, with the hazard of making movies that fewer people will see?
Some of this year's best films have been daring, unfettered artistic visions from modern day mavericks - Sean Penn's Into the Wild, Todd Haynes' I'm Not There, the Coen Brothers' No Country for Old Men, P.T. Anderson's There Will Be Blood...
Yes, sometimes directors get out of hand, anyone who has seen Oliver Stone's horrendously self-indulgent Alexander can attest to that. But can you imagine David Lynch with a studio leash on him? Or Lars Von Trier? *shudder*
I could handle the occasional Alexander if it meant more out-of-the-box movies like INLAND EMPIRE and Dogville.