NYT – The Mystery of the Missing Moviemakers

The NYT asks where some promising filmmakers of the ’90s went after much-lauded debuts.

The Mystery of the Missing Moviemakers

(If you can’t access the article, it’s also available on SGFilm.)

Towards the end of the article, it suggests that Hollywood’s lack of artistic rivalry is to blame:

More than any other factor, though, Hollywood veterans cite the absence of the kind of creative ferment that coursed through the Hollywood of the 1970s, the challenge that one cinematic triumph posed to other artists.

At least that’s what Cameron Crowe, the writer and director of “Jerry Maguire,” “Almost Famous” and the more recent critical disaster “Elizabethtown” suggested, as he was leaving a recent tribute to his hero, Billy Wilder.

“There’s no community,” he said. “We need to encourage one another.” He cited the rivalry between the Beach Boys and the Beatles in the ’60s, when one group’s innovative album spurred the other to do it one better. “It’s like ‘Pet Sounds’ and ‘Sgt. Pepper’s,’ ” Mr. Crowe said. “It becomes a cycle that feeds on itself. One great work leads to another.”

There is powerful evidence of that dynamic in three ambitious, critically hailed movies in 2006 that were, in no small way, the fruit of mutual challenge and frank criticism. The films — Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Babel,” Guillermo del Toro’s “Pan’s Labyrinth” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” — were constantly reviewed and critiqued among the three directors, who are all Mexican.

“These films are like triplets, they are sisters,” Mr. Cuarón said in a telephone interview from Mexico. (In the middle of the conversation his cellphone rang, with Mr. Iñárritu on the line. “I am trashing you as we speak,” Mr. Cuarón told him in Spanish.)

Sounds right.


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