Here’s the latest installment of Baltimore writer Joseph Martin’s Ivy Bookshop-sponsored column for the Baltimore Fishbowl, “The Lit Parade,” a celebration and thoughtful examination of the epic local lit scene that too often goes unreported, unread.
In the world of academic analysis, few things madden quite like trying to treat an artist’s entire oeuvre. And that goes double for movie directors: even amongst the most stylish and singular of moviedom’s “auteurs,” like David Lynch or Quentin Tarantino, there are head-scratching incongruities (Lynch’s The Straight Story), conceptual clunkers (Lynch’s Wild at Heart, the Tarantino-scripted From Dusk ‘Til Dawn), money-grabs (Lynch’s Dune), or simple toss-offs (Tarantino’s smug addition to Four Rooms) with which to contend. Unlike a painter or a writer, a director’s vision is subservient to cast, crew, funds, marketability, etc. — he or she is in a true artistic bind: a movie has to be sellable, critically viable, and a financial “hit” in order for a director to even keep making art. What gets made is, ultimately, what can get made, a problem that’s led to many a messy, difficult-to-parse film corpus.