Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Poetry in Movies?

I've written about poetry in music before, but have you ever seen a movie and thought, "Wow, that was poetic?" I'm not sure if I ever have...before tonight.

I don't watch a lot of movies, so maybe right away that disqualifies me from this discussion, but tonight I found the time to sneak away (by myself...I think the last 10 movies I've seen in theaters have been by myself...ah, the joys of parenthood) to see one--Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and directed by Christopher Nolan of Batman fame (but whom I worship because of his directorial debut Memento).

Inception is action packed and overflowing with myriad visual effects. But there's poetry in there somewhere. I'm not sure if I can explain it and maybe I'm just looking to discuss it with others who've seen it, but I'm all but certain that the story could be written as a poem.

Are there other movies out there like this? I'm certain there are many independent, artistic films that could be considered so, but how many multi-million dollar, visual effects laden movies like Inception can we say this of?

Has a film ever struck you as "poetic?" Or am I the only weirdo to ever think this? Please let me know.

1 comment:

  1. my background is/was in film, and there are a number of films that i think of as poetic but they tend to have what i consider a "european sensibility" to them, i.e. they don't follow hollywood's lead.

    wim wenders made two films with original story material from writers who wrote poetry, and i think that poetry enters into the movies: "paris, texas" based loosely on sam shepherd's "motel chronicles," and "wings of desrie" with poetic narration written by german author peter handke. the images, the poetic breath and pacing, both of these movies seem infused with a poetic voice.

    there's a lot of 60s french new wave that also contains some loopy poetry to it -- truffaut, renais, godard -- but olivier assayas' "irma vep" from about ten years ago has a strange experimental coda at the end of it -- maybe two minutes worth -- that literally took my breath the first time i saw it. it was so unlike the rest of the movie, and so unexpected, and perfectly mirrored the main character's attempts to capture something raw and visceral... something you can see and feel in poetry.

    by it's general nature hollywood cannot afford poetry because it has so many other demands. scripts are formulaic, stars and budgets accounted for accordingly, and the writer is still the most underpaid creative in the movie industry -- with very few exceptions, everyone in the opening credits of a movie is paid more than a screenwriter. there is little room for poetry when the scribes are struggling to survive by doing what others are telling them to write.