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artisanal film reviews | by maryann johanson

question of the day: Can a director who doesn’t know how to tell a story still be called a strong visual filmmaker?

CinemartNow, a London film critic, tweeted this recently:

He’s a strong visual filmmaker I just don’t think he knows anything about storytelling.

This was in reference to hack of the moment Paul W.S. Anderson, director of the upcoming The Three Musketeers.

But this rubs me the wrong way. I don’t think a director can be said to be a strong visual filmmaker is he doesn’t know anything about storytelling. I mean, isn’t it all about telling a story? Even a film such as The Tree of Life, to give one recent example of a movie that is very caught up in being visually beautiful and interesting, is still using those visuals to tell a story. I would be comfortable calling Terrence Malick a “strong visual filmmaker” — I just don’t like the stories he tells. But that’s another issue.

Am I wrong? Can a director who doesn’t know how to tell a story still be called a strong visual filmmaker?

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTD sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)



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