A discourse of differentiation #2


Rail: No one seems to quite know what the state of storytelling in the movies today is.

Telaroli: I watch a lot of old movies, so I watch a lot of narratives—very traditional narratives. Something that I like about traditional narrative is that when you have a known structure, all of the other things become much more interesting. When you don't have to figure out the structure of the movie anymore, you can really look at all the fun, weird aspects of it. And I learn a ton about movies when I can just focus on the weird aspects of things. I've never thought about it this way before, but what you're seeing with SILK TATTERS [full title: SILK TATTERS, "NEC SPE NEC METU" : BRIGADOON, 2015] is something like a Hollywood movie with the narrative pulled out, so you're only seeing all the other things that are going on.

I was sitting at MoMI watching a Howard Hawks movie one day—I think it was Man's Favorite Sport? (1964)—and some friends were talking about going to see a Lav Diaz film the next day, one of the 8-hour-long ones, and someone was saying how it's going to be difficult to do that, and I said, "That's not difficult: you sit there, you think about yourself, you look at the movies, things happen, you make a note of it, and you go back to thinking about your life." A Howard Hawks film is difficult, because it's always throwing something at you. You are constantly working. Could you imagine watching an 8-hour Howard Hawks film? You would die.

Anyway, there is this thing happening today with films that are being called unconventional narratives, or that are playing around with these unfamiliar structures, and sometimes it's interesting, but I find a lot of the time it doesn't make me think as hard. For me, a Lav Diaz movie will always be easier, not that I think there's not value in what those movies do. I may be the wrong person to ask about them in a critical sense, but a lot of current arthouse movies—and even independent films that are more traditional—I don't learn a lot from them, and I don't know if I like to watch movies that aren’t keeping me learning. [Laughs.] I don’t think I said that right.