UPDATE: Be sure to read the follow-up commentary once you’re done.
My friend and photographer Carlos Baez is passionate about his craft and paying homage to the photography masters. Boy, don’t even get him started on the fact that so many of today’s young photographers have no idea who Helmut Newton is. Maybe it’s the Latin blood, but when we get talking about the state of education and experience among the young photographers of today, he gets rather riled.
Honestly, I used to think he took it too seriously. I’d tease him about it. But that was because it was photography (i.e. not MY craft. Isn’t it funny how some things don’t really bother us that much until it hits home for us personally?). Today I was talking to an extremely talented filmmaker and mentioning names like Wes Anderson and the Coen Brothers, and he/she hadn’t seen any of their work. “Well how about The King’s Speech?” “Nope.” I can’t say I got as fired up as my buddy Carlos, but for the first time I think I felt a little bit how he felt. “How can you not know the Coen Brothers?!” (If the person I was talking to is reading this, don’t feel bad. You are a crazy talented filmmaker. I don’t think ill of you. But you DO need to get that Netflix account we talked about and watch you some films. )
So, I got to thinking: how important is it really for talented young filmmakers to know the works of Bergman, Kurosawa, Fellini, Kubrick, Hitchock, Houston, Wyler, or Wilder? Or the works of contemporary “masters” like the Coen Brothers, the Andersons (PT or Wes), Jarmusch, Soderbergh, Scorcese, Allen (as in Woody), or Coppola (daddy or daughter)? (I’d add Tarantino to this list, but given the number of times I’ve seen the “Reservoir Dogs” walk in wedding as well as corporate films, I think QT is pretty well known.)
Today I’m just posing the question out to the world wide interwebs. Tomorrow I’ll offer some of my thoughts (to be honest, I’m still percolating on it).
So, what say you?
Now go read the follow-up commentary.
P.S. If you want to get a crash course in amazing filmmakers, check out the podcast Film Spotting and follow along their marathons. This is a must-podcast for any one who fancies himself/herself a filmmaker.