As a big fan of cinema as pure image-sound experience, I'm thrilled that visual master Peter Greenaway squandered a puff-piece opportunity with New York Magazine to harsh on our ever-diminishing ability to appreciate films this way. He's just released a documentary called Rembrandt's J'Accuse. It's an analysis of Rembrandt's painting The Night Watch and tasks itself with locating and explaining the painting's hidden meanings, calling attention to our own visual illiteracy in the process. Something tells me that Greenaway's "essay-like" approach to documentary will be more visually lyrical than the wildest dream sequences of garden variety directors.
Also great to hear that he's been VJ-ing lately too:
"[W]e’ve fragmented a huge amount of imagery into thousands of loops, taken from the original Tulse Luper Suitcases, some of them no more than a couple of seconds. And we’ve put together a project which is music-driven, in association with D.J.'s... [a]nd I have these touch screens where I can push and pull these images onto as many big projection screens as I can: 33 screens is our record. What I’m trying to find is a present-tense live cinema, which is non-narrative and multi-screen. I don’t want to concentrate anymore on the single screen, which is far too small a canvas these days. I’m also interested in the cinema that’s never the same. Even Casablanca eventually becomes disappointing because it never changes. But we now have the technology to change it every night."
While I must roll my eyes a bit at the Casablanca comment (and disagree with the statement that it never changes), I also admit that I would consider selling my eye teeth to see Greenaway practice his art live, although I'd probably immediately start obsessing about how much better my set of music would be for him. Geekdom. It's really quite different from Zen Buddhism.