Sunday, August 10, 2008

A Need To Know Basis

Metropolis is the most interesting of films. It is an undisputed masterpiece. It has influenced countless filmmakers. And it has been seen by virtually nobody. Not in its entirety. Missing scenes have given the film a mystique that can’t be matched. It’s like the Venus De Milo. Once the arms go back on, will it just be a pretty woman?

Will the missing footage (most of it anyway) that has been found keep the film in the high status it has established? Will the missing plot holes be explained by Patrick Duffy walking out of a shower and us realizing it was all a dream? Was it all in the head of an autistic child looking at a snowglobe? Was an annoying CGI created sidekick who spoke ebonics, the reason for the missing scenes?

Probably not. But all these mysteries being solved lately to me are kind of, well, disappointing.
I liked it better when we did not know who was the woman in the Mona Lisa. I preferred a time when we were unsure what the heck Stonehenge was.

We each get something different out of a piece of art. What did Bill Murray really whisper to Scarlett Johansson at the end of Lost In Translation? Why would I want to know? What I feel he said on some level, or the power of a moment shared between the two characters could not possibly become more powerful by finding out.

EX: (Wasn’t it cooler in a way when you didn’t know what giant warehouse the Ark of the Covenant, was stored in at the end of Raiders of The Lost Ark?)

What was the glow in that briefcase in Pulp Fiction? Macguffins are a part of films because our individual imaginations create a better scenario, than if the director revealed it at the end. When they are revealed they are often disappointing. If they are not a disappointment, the film is classic (i.e. Citizen Kane)

Macguffin: A term used by Alfred Hitchcock to refer to an item, event, or piece of knowledge that the characters in a film consider extremely important, but which the audience either doesn't know of or doesn't care about. Examples: the engine plans in The 39 Steps, the statue with the microfilms in North by Northwest, and the contents of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction.

The best Macguffin of all is the one we live through every day. The big questions we all have for God. “Why if _____ then _____ , _____, ______ happens?” It can be frustrating to the point where we say a lot of blankety blanks to ourselves.

Our feeble minds cannot fathom why. God is on a whole other level of intelligence. And when everything is made known we won’t be disappointed. It will be Metropolis plot holes all tied together brilliantly, times a million. But I will enjoy all the mystery in the mean time.
But don’t forget. We are characters in one heck of a story. And even Orson Wells is gonna be impressed with all of the reveals at the end.

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