Renee, I love your work and the website. You're a good writer and your articles may be relevant, constructive, surprising or instructive.
But please, in the name of the almighty Muses of Cinema who may be listening to us right now, you may want to refrain from upholding a critical assertion upon Nolan's work and inasmuch in evaluating the spectrum of his structural storytelling process and its outcome for what it may or may not work or be "comprehensible" to an audience at large, you included. In every story, the plot and the characters intertwine - cheerfully dancing with each others as to compliment an elaborate and dramatic entertainment. That's inevitable. Dicken's used side characters whise sole purpose is to bring about explanations and new troubles to the plot and vice- versa - so did Homer so does JK Rowling. The problem, it seems to me that most people have with Inception, is that the audience often retains one part the story, overlooking the rest if it. After all, Inception is an action drama where a father has lost his children and wife and is about to lose his only "link" with the real world: his estranged father. There's an ethical theme to it underlined by the breaking of an energy monopoly controlled by a ruthless and greedy corporation incarnated by a cold-hearted dying CEO. There are psychoanalysis AND metaphysical theses in which one may lose her soul - waiting to die alone m, filled with regrets - or redeem a strained relationship with a parent who had never loved us. Or, one may ease by keeping them intact haunting "souvenirs" of a suicidal partner who, independently to her willing, lost touch with the "material". There is a theme of "infinity" where one may construct and design without limitations, busy in the meandering of absolute creation: the dream of any architect who dares and imagine. There is the theme that "inception" is possible if only conceived, implementing an idea that would seem occuring naturally to the subject victim of a subliminal "propaganda". There is a theme that transcends our reality which isn't necesserally what it might appear to be; though - regarless - we determine what to believe in and that's what the finale is all about: our choices. There is an overwhelming sensation of grandeur and tension both in visuals and in rhythm, imposed to the spectator and accentuating a gradual theme of "apocalyptic" proportions. There is a theme that sustains that our subsconscients trigger a more profound effect upon our human interactions that we would admit and that, in despite of whatever protective barriers we ought to enact, we remain vulnerable. There's a theme establishing that Love knows no boundaries and that it may even break free In its dimension from reason and folly: the hell with conventions and common sense, what's real becomes in fact real in a dream within a dream.
Finally, the argument that the characters exists only to reveal a plot is true - as in any story - albeit, in that case, one may argue that Nolan - a brave storyteller - has managed to depict an epic drama in which a character through his quest - a near-impossible kast minute gamble to reunite with his live ones - chases his demons and confronts them, avoiding bullets and traps of different nature in worlds where the only way up is down. The hero saves not one but three lives, he mentors a wary though curious apprentice (she's one in helping us in clarifying what's going on) and he challenges other collaborators to accomplish greater while constantly improvising to unforeseen circumstances threatening the whole thing to, gravity-suspended, fall appart at an any given "time", or kick, echoed by the ghostly voice of a distant Edith Piaf.
Some call this movie brilliant, ingenious, orginial, intellectual. Some will remember it - as the inception intends - for a maze so deeply and masterfully anchored into our uncouscious levels that, perhaps, at the end and when we wake up, so little if any remains.
"What we forget and need to remember, is what first sparked that creativity before it became so enslaved to our identity. At first we didn't attempt to be good at something we just revelled in the wonder of the world".
That's quite inspiring Mr Fenn * I'd love to read more of your writings.
I understood you...
And if I may, our generation is lucky because filmmaking has been democratised. It doesn't cost much to film anymore and the knowledge is accessible to all (this wonderful website and the always excellent articles of V Renne are proof of that). So I don't see anyone being broke these days over decades as a mean to satisfy their passion unless they're being unrealistic/delusional or simply as romantic as Rimbaud was. As an exemple, I have a friend who just contracted debts to buy further pro equipment. I'm not quite sure where the line is to be drawn between passion and addiction. Again, filmmaking is the materialisation of an artistic but selfish, storytelling impulse. Nothing more, nothing less. If one regrets at 65 to be in a precarious situation having sacrificed much to filmmaking then perhaps they should blame no one but themselves. Nobody else is responsible for that. Destitute filmmakers aren't victims but the cause of their fatality if such resentment emerges. Regrets - in that regard - seems to be the price to pay and that would be pretty sad because it'd imply that the experience, overall, wasn't worth it. But let's not all be so dramatic, choices define who we are.
Stories - as long as they're told - live on.
I don't think you're negative, merely realistic.
Yet, I think it's important to know who you are and what you're in for. If you're in for indie filmmaking then I guess it is the experience that enriches your life, not your pension. To make something - whether financially successful or not - is what defines a filmmaker.
Experience, expression and self-fulfilment prevail over other considerations as often Art does, which entails considerable sacrifices such as family life - unless you find someone involved in the creative arts too...
Filmmakers know what they're getting into nonetheless they brace difficulties, opposition and they discard conformity in order to turn fiction into reality. To "get involved" - at any cost. To live consciously their dreams. Still, nobody forces them to do so therefore i'd say that the "are going to put their lives in danger" is slightly exaggerated.
If you want security then be on the studio/producers payroll and study what "works" and be talented enough to climb the Everest.
It's that simple.
You mention many filmmakers not studying anything other than their craft. That "no plan B" approach is risky, so again, one's better tremendously talented and not be elusive since behind the curtain of illusion, there's actually science. People don't call Spielberg a genius for nothing.
I always find it interesting when people turn assumptions into statements of truth. The world today has never been as defined as it is by religious beliefs since perhaps the middle ages. South American people are dedicated to religion, check the stats. North American people way of living is based on Christians values - its politics too - notwithstanding that 70% of the US population claim to be Christians. Russia is deepening into Orthodoxy, South Asia population are either Christians or Muslims. Europe remains Europe, it depends on economic grow. The Middle east...? Well, you know that one and I don't see atheism lurking any time soon. Africa and its 1 billion plus population societies are fundamentally religious. Chinese people are extremely superstitious - maybe that's why they love gambling so much. And for the first time in History the Pope has addressed to Congress which may reveal that conflicts of ideology are intensifying.
As I said, I love assumptions turned into statements of truth. No offense intended to you though, I live in a cosmopolitain city and i'd assume too that the world has evolved.
Now, going back to the article, I think it is an investment issue. Simply put, if something works (aka profitable) then why change it? We went from Hitchcock - a horror movie master who, surprise, didn't use the supernatural element much but rather Psychology, as did Kubrick - to Scary Movie, a paragon of dumbness. But that works, it's cost efficient, no acting required, the script is thin so who cares because it makes money therefore people like it and client is King. But actually, I believe that the real "horror" masterpieces of the last, let's said two decades, do not fall into the horror genre but embrace a wider spectrum of emotions; such as Jurassic Park, Alien of course, Terminator, Looper (a movie of horrific violence, anyone remember that scene where Paul Dano gets chopped off..?), The Matrix (isn't Robot city a Beauty?) and so on... You've got also the critically acclaimed Insidious, The Others, The Sixth Sense, 28 days later and to some extend the aesthetic Silent Hill.
It's a personal opinion but perhaps the Horror genre has dried up. Werewolves, aliens, vampires, demons, The Devil, viruses, sorcerers, scary animals, vilains, AI... All these elements have been already used. Yeah, perhaps it's dried up a little. And for the lack of creativity but because studios ought to keep on producing them for various purposes (Halloween, marketing and because people wanna see a scary movie once in a while), well, we've got not so good Horror genre movies using systemically the same tricks (running off the stairs, scared children, music plays in background, possessions, shadows and... (Fcking) jump scares...)
Time to write something new!!! Let's go people!