What do we get from the stories that find their way through generations? I'm not sure anyone knows the true answer to that, but David Lowery is trying to find out. He's the director of movies like A Ghost Story, Ain't Them Bodies Saints, Pete's Dragon, and The Green Knight. Lowery uses mythology in his storytelling to pass us his movies like a generational orator.
His characters, situations, and stakes all have the makings of a great campfire story and provide cinematic wonder. So how does he harness this power to make us come back for more? And how does he take these popular myths and put enough of himself into them to make them feel fresh and new?
Check out this video from CineFix - IGN Movies and TV, and let's talk after the break.
How David Lowery Uses the Power of Myth in His Storytelling
As we said in the opening, myths and folktales have been the cornerstone of storytelling throughout world history. They're the stories that get passed down to you.
One of the most famous stories is that Arthurian legend, from which The Green Knight borrows heavily. Lowery adapted a story straight from King Arthur and his round table, using the 14th-century romantic epic to build the structure.
As The Green Knight storms theaters, it's important to note that Lowery is not new to adapting mythology. He's tackled stories about lovers on the run, dragons in forests, and breakups and losses that are so bad you haunt the ones you love. It's safe to say Lowery is interested in the fantasies and legends we create that inform our culture. And TheGreen Knight is the culmination of a career built on legendary storytelling.
Each of his films tackles something it seems like we vaguely know. Ain't Them Bodies Saints is like a retelling of the Odyssey, as a man goes through trials in an attempt to get back to his family. It also takes a few notes from Bonnie and Clyde—not the movie but the legend of lovers on the lam.
Of course, Pete's Dragon is the retelling of a story, but Lowry reimagines it as a legend within the story. The dragon who lives in the woods. It creates its own mythos as part of the storytelling, seeing those myths come alive through a child's eyes.
And what about A Ghost Story? Its title is the stuff of campfire lore, but the interior of the movie is something much more experimental and beautiful. It's about haunting memories. A dead man haunts his wife, and she feels his presence in her house. It's not horror, it's lost love.
Robert Redford as a charming bank robber in The Old Man and the Gun provides us with the tried-and-true storyline of one last job. It's about a man searching for happiness after a life of going with the flow. Will he rob another bank or finally feel fulfilled and settle down? These are the questions of an aging raconteur.
With every movie he tackles, Lowery takes what feels common and creates something special by updating these ideas with what he thinks and feels about these legends. It's not just about adapting myths, but about what these myths mean to us, and how we react when we hear them.
Let us know what you think in the comments.