film-theater

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My small wish: Benedict and Martin filming a cop movie.
I want Benedict as a new, enthusiastic stubborn cop and Martin as a bad dirty cop. They hate each other at first but soon realize they’re actually good partners.

I had a very interesting discussion about theater and film the other day. My parents and I were talking about Little Shop of Horrors and, specifically, about the ending of the musical versus the ending of the (1986) movie. In the musical, the story ends with the main characters getting eaten by the plant and everybody dying. The movie was originally going to end the same way, but audience reactions were so negative that they were forced to shoot a happy ending where the plant is destroyed and the main characters survive. Frank Oz, who directed the movie, later said something I think is very interesting:

I learned a lesson: in a stage play, you kill the leads and they come out for a bow — in a movie, they don’t come out for a bow, they’re dead. They’re gone and so the audience lost the people they loved, as opposed to the theater audience where they knew the two people who played Audrey and Seymour were still alive. They loved those people, and they hated us for it.

That’s a real gem of a thought in and of itself, a really interesting consequence of the fact that theater is alive in a way that film isn’t. A stage play always ends with a tangible reminder that it’s all just fiction, just a performance, and this serves to gently return the audience to the real world. Movies don’t have that, which really changes the way you’re affected by the story’s conclusion. Neat!

But here’s what’s really cool: I asked my dad (who is a dramaturge) what he had to say about it, and he pointed out that there is actually an equivalent technique in film: the blooper reel. When a movie plays bloopers while the credits are rolling, it’s accomplishing the exact same thing: it reminds you that the characters are actually just played by actors, who are alive and well and probably having a lot of fun, even if the fictional characters suffered. How cool is that!?

Now I’m really fascinated by the possibility of using bloopers to lessen the impact of a tragic ending in a tragicomedy…

MoMA Slates Fall Bardfest With 21 Shakespeare-Related Films

Mark your calendars: Breaking Bard: Shakespeare on Film, October 12–24, celebrates the array of cinematic interpretations created in the 400 years since the artist’s death. Deadline Hollywood has the scoop, and the screening schedule (Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, anyone?). Tickets on sale soon!

(via MoMA Slates Fall Bardfest With 21 Shakespeare-Related Films)