Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What's a director's vision and how can I get one? (Part 2)

You know what's neat about last year? 'Avatar' and 'District 9' are essentially the same movie: Humans discover aliens. Wielding power over aliens, humans exploit and dehumanize (I know, but what word are you going to use there) said aliens. A single human, whose mission is to further exploit said aliens finds himself becoming one of them, and as a result develops sympathy for their plight, ultimately helping the aliens to throw off the yoke of their oppressors.

Or, to put it the way I categorized things in my last two blogs, they're both stories about how humankind deals with the discovery of extraterrestrial life. And they're both coming-of-age stories with a ton of special effects.

Both films were nominated for Best Picture. And both made a lot of money at the box office (okay, so one made a lot of money and the other made a FUCKING SHITSTORM OF MONEY.)

You get the point.

Anyway, they're clearly not the same movie, so how can they be the same movie? I'm glad you asked. It's the second part of what makes up a director's vision.


In broad terms, James Cameron created a conventional cinematic piece (when I say "conventional", I'm talking about its narrative style), while Neil Blomkamp made a movie that looks like a documentary.

'Avatar' takes place in the future; 'District 9' takes place in the past. Even the settings are light years apart.

Same story, different interpretations.

Neat, huh?