Surprises.

Posted January 9th, 2013 by Ben

“We’re gonna need a big fake blood budget” says Damian as he leafs through the script “I’ve written that in the margin. And I’m only page 18…”

Some might see our new film as a change of direction, coming, as it does on the back if a series of successful shorts all of which were chiefly concerned with making you laugh. Increasingly though I am aware of the power of a sudden shift in tone or theme as a way of startling the audience out of a stupor. This, I think, is why it is a tactic so rarely employed in politics.

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Life is naturally discontinuous, though this something we often smooth over. Story-telling at its most essential, as it is most often performed, is the thing we do to convince ourselves that our lives have a coherent trajectory. The oddest thing about this behaviour is how rarely we like to think of that trajectory’s inevitable destination. Unless of course you care to think of a well ordered narrative as the direct opposite of the chaos that is brought to our existence by its ending. In which case success, failure, rational choices and a sense of deliberate progression all act as balm against the awful pointless joke that death makes out of life.

Yet we know that life is not a satisfying story. Faced as we are with all those messy, unordered lifely events we shake our heads and say “you couldn’t make it up.” This is untrue, there is nothing in life that we couldn’t imagine, what we mean is that you wouldn’t make it up. Irrational behaviour, unforeseen circumstances, unforeshadowed actions and unresolved encounters that do not fit into a broader pattern – these unsatisfying surprises are the stuff we seek to remove from the stories we tell of ourselves.

Looking back on the writing of our film “Nina Forever” I start to see why my brother and I were drawn to expressing some of our thoughts about death in such an unexpected form. This though is just more post-rationalisation. But hopefully one that does explain the quantity of blood that our production designer is ordering.

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