David Denby talks about the dying breed of originality in art — I assume he’s talking about mainstream Hollywood films, which lose their local flavor because they have to be generic enough to appeal to an international audience. I don’t know that I agree with his premise but I think he’s a great writer – and I am looking forward to reading his book. He talks to Rachel Martin on NPR’s Weekend Edition and had this to say:
On how blockbusters must now be accessible to audiences all over the world, and why they suffer as a result
“Two-thirds of the box office return comes from overseas. They have to play in Bangkok and Bangalore, you know, as well as Bangor, Maine …
“The local flavor has gone out of them. In the early ’70s, there were a lot of things set in American, very specific places like Nashville, [Tenn.,] you know, or The Godfather in New York in the late ’40s, and Long Island and the city. I mean, that sense of a very specific time and place has vanished.
“Now you’re getting it in small films, particularly things that go through the Sundance process of script development, like Beasts of the Southern Wild, this marvelous film that came out this past summer that was shot in the bayous of Louisiana. You can’t get much more specific than that. I miss that. There’s a certain grandeur, a certain ambition [that] has just gone out of studio filmmaking. And they openly say they’re only interested in spectacles made from comic books and games, or maybe young-adult fictions and genre films. “