Stories and Elements

“We never tell stories in a linear way — we always tell them in a decomposed way,” Guillermo Arriaga, director-writer of The Burning Plain, has told the Guardian‘s Mark Brown. “If you ask how did I become a director, I will not begin at the beginning. I will talk about my grandfather, my trip to Italy and so on. That’s the way we tell stories in real life.”

Burning Plain director-writer Guillemo Arriaga, star Charlize Theron

“I’ve always been driven to the desert. I think the landscape itself influences people. This movie was based on the four elements — water, earth, wind and fire — and [in] using them I wanted to explore why sometimes people are damaged.”
“Some” people? Who isn’t damaged? Who among us is unbruised or unscathed?
I remember Woody Allen‘s remark in front of a crowd at the WGA theatre during a promo tour for Match Point. I didn’t record it, but the gist was more or less as follows: “When I look at a baby girl sleeping I just feel sorry for her. I feel sad knowing what she’ll be going through. All the pain and heartbreak and hurt feelings and betrayals by boyfriends and the personal disappointments that await her. And knowing that one day she may come to feel as I do, which is that we’re living in a concentration camp and that the only way out is through the smokestacks.”

  • broadstreetbully

    Woody needs some mood-elevating drugs, pronto.

  • JD

    I hate when people project their despair onto other people. There’s this small-minded belief that negativity is somehow an extension of knowledge and intelligence, but an equally valid case can be made for the opposite. People who recoil from the world for fear of re-living their painful experiences are cowards, aren’t they? Painful experiences can also make people stronger and give them a seen-it-all confidence that allows them to endure and maintain hope in the face of adversity. Pessimism is lazy man’s disease. In spite of his prolific (but utterly hit-and-miss) filmography, Woody Allen is — by his own admission — extremely lazy.

  • madskrilla

    Arriaga is an interesting novelist — I highly recommend his books (don’t know how many have been translated). his Gonzalez Inarritu trilogy was getting a bit tired, I have to say — from Amores Perros to 21 Grams to Babel, the movies got weaker (Amores Perros is, for me, truly excellent)
    I like Arriaga because he trusts the audience’s attention span, and the audience’s intelligence. it’s rare nowadays.
    Woody has been mostly off in the last 12 years, but when he’s on, like in Match Point, he’s still one of the American Masters.