Sunday, November 20, 2005

the sewn seeds of cinema

From Lawrence Weschler's article in Harper's Magazine "Valkyries Over Iraq: The Trouble with War Movies", November 2005:

Walter Murch's "theory of the Three Fathers, his own idiosyncratic genealogy of film, the notion that cinema rises at the intersection of Edison, Flaubert, and Beethoven. Edison, of course, standing in for all the innovations on the technical side; Flaubert, for the upsurge of realism (and specifically "closely observed realism," the way the French master could spend a whole page evoking how light and sound fell across an empty room, only in order to get at something far grander); and then Beethoven, with his expansion and the exploitation of the idea of dynamics (the notion that "by aggressively expanding, contracting, and transforming the rhythmic and orchestral structure of music, you could create unprecedented emotional resonance and power"). All of it leading to film, a technology ideally suited to the dynamic representation of closely observed reality."

See also Michael Ondaatje's book-length interview with Murch, The Conversations.