When watching most films that are produced in Hollywood today, they all follow a similar formula: introduce the characters, follow a linear plot line, climax, and ending. Some films can stray away from this linear trend; “Memento,” “Pulp Fiction,” and “Atonement” all had disjointed methods of telling their story in terms of events happening chronologically, but in the end they all make sense and come together when the credits roll. We don’t see as much abstract filmmaking anymore. It’s hard to find events happening for no reason with any explanation, simply because the director wants something to happen. There are hints of this lost surrealist and impressionist magic that used to be so prevalent in French cinema while watching “Amelie.” While it does still follow a relatively understandable story, there are certain events and moments in the film that feel as if what we are watching what could be a dream, something that doesn’t quite make sense but still connects to the context of the film enough for it to make sense and be accepted by a somewhat general audience.
I rather enjoy this method of filmmaking because for me, watching movies serves as an escape from the real world. Just as falling asleep into a dream can be an escape for some, becoming consumed by a particular world created on a screen is a relaxing escape for me. When watching surrealist influenced cinema, this feeling is enhanced further, and a sort of magic that only comes about from movies begins to take shape. Most modern movies have lost that sense of magic in my mind, which is a shame because I can’t see it ever making a comeback with the mindset that the current public has towards films and the economic forces driving the American film industry. These various creative techniques aren’t fully utilized by modern directors for fear that general audiences will reject the concepts and images as not mainstream enough to be successful in a film industry that is controlled so much by economic success.
As much as I love this abstract and unique way of making films, there is a pitfall in the removal of a more relatable human element because all art, including cinema, should be created to tell a story or portray a human emotion that puts the human experience into a personified form. By creating these events that have no relation to or distract from the center story piece of the film, it can create this sense of a false reality that ultimately takes away a human element from the heart of the film. It becomes harder to relate to the characters on an emotional level when they are viewed as a figment of a dream rather than a real person that can form a connection with a general audience. This film brings about some conflict for me because it reminds me how I enjoy both of these somewhat different elements of cinema and how hard it is to combine the two. While this film does a relatively good job of combining these two ideals, repeating this is no easy feat and is one of the reasons why this movie is so brilliant in my mind. Still, I wouldn’t mind seeing a slight return to prominence for surrealist film techniques in modern cinema.