Thursday, July 24, 2014

What’s Shyamalanian ?

“That’s what I’m trying to do, too – have an original voice. Say something new. I’m trying to take a chance.” – M. Night Shyamalan

 “I believe, writes M. Night Shyamalan. Period.”

Manoj (Night) Shyamalan: (born 6 August 1970) director of Praying with Anger, Wide Awake, The Sixth Sense, Unbreakable, Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water, The Happening, The Last Airbender, After Earth. After the monumental commercial and critical success of his third film The Sixth Sense, which grossed over six-hundred million dollars worldwide, the typical narrative of his career is that the artistic ambitions of his projects overshadowed the commercial prospects, and like other talented directors to emerge in the early Two-thousands, his subsequent career has been reduced to making middling summer blockbusters. But what Night is best remembered for in his films is naïvely peering at the supernatural and the fantastic, and creating these unique moments that blend the burlesque with the sublime.

-       Praying with Anger: loosely based on Shy’s relationship with his wife. Jeff Giles: “Bhavna’s family was from the north of India and his was from the south, and he was slightly young. Those things are deal-breakers in India, of course.”
-       Shy, on his wife, from I Got Schooled: “And finally to Dr. Bhavna Shyamalan. She was the one that brought public school education to my attention. Her training in research and statistics guided the book’s academic standard. She probably should have been the one to write this book; it would have been much better. I got A’s in college to impress her, and I think I wrote this book so she’d still think I am smart.”
-       I, and others I’m sure, actually prefer his really early films Praying with Anger and Wide Awake (cf. Shy's early films) because they show an interest in spirituality, ghost, and relationships that he would later further develop. They’re really of their time.
-       The special feature on his DVDs. Especially his introductions and his teenage short-films. Donnie Wahlberg talking about his “method” is unlike anything that you’ll ever see! The short-film that anticipates Signs is one of the most hilarious thing ever. Ever!
-       Spielberg did the ghost film first with Always, which itself was a remake of an old Victor Fleming film A Guy Named Joe.
-       Shyamalan’s is really a post-Spielberg cinema. Kathleen Kennedy, Spielberg’s producer, even produced a couple of his films.
-       Night’s Top Ten Films of All Time, from an old Newsweek feature, included two Spielberg titles (Jaws and Raiders), along with the “transcendent” The Godfather, and The Exorcist, The Silence of the Lambs, Rocky, Dead Poet’s Society, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Star Wars and Psycho.
-       Night wrote Stuart Little. hehe
-       His Twitter profile pic where he’s wearing an old Converse shirt. hehe
-       His "official" spooky website. I don’t get how it works…. hehe
-       That he has a whosay account and regularly updates it...
-       Bryce Dallas Howard: Ron Howard’s daughter, who starred in The Village, Lady in the Water, and will be in the next Jurassic Park. Love her.
-       That in Lady in the Water, she plays something that is called a "Narf" and that its name is Story. Interpret that how you will…
-       I don’t care what people say She’s All That, which Shy ghost wrote, shows many Shyamalanian themes.
-       That weird Shy doc is fascinating. I really want to party with him! And by the way, I want to know more about this doc and its filmmaker. What is it really about? Who is this guy? Why would Shy let this director spend so much time with if it were just to fail? It can't just be a hokes. Seems very atypical...
-       The holy Night trinity: Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water.
-       Could Lady in the Water be Shyamalan's equivalent of Howard Hawks' Land of the Pharaohs? An artistic summit of his art, an ode to the creative process, a glorious failure that would negatively affect his subsequent career (forcing him to take more for-hire jobs)?
-       And if this is the case then would the sports journalist Michael Bamberger's great making of Lady in the Water book (which I suspect Night only coincided to because Bamberger also wrote a note-worthy book Wonderland on a year in the life of an American high school; education being an important social issue for Night) be his Noël Coward's Hollywood sur Nil?
-       There’s a strong emphasis on childhood, education and learning throughout Night's filmography, which culminates in his most recent book I Got Schooled. Not to be scoffed at. Night wants to change the world and make it a better place. Can't say the same thing about a lot of other people.
-       The less said about his The Happening and Night's subsequent career, the better.
-       The Cahiers guys are big fans.
-       After Earth sucked!
-       It had potential. But didn’t work.
-       The closest thing to a Shyamalanian director in Toronto are Matt Johnson (dude’s the best) and the C & Y guys, who have openly discussed that they're fans.
-       The pool scenes in Matt Porterfield’s cinema (Putty Hill, I Used to Be Darker) are reminiscent of Shy’s. (M. Night Porterfield, perhaps?)
-       Hopefully Sundowning will be great. The way that he's been tweeting about it makes it sound that it'll be! A return to form, perhaps?

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