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“Don’t See Your Film in My Film!”

22 April 2009

I was thinking of a museum screening I attended of an Indian film years ago. The director was there: I remember him wearing a pale, pale blue scarf, perched on the edge of a metal chair. He was seated next to a moderator who asked him a few questions after the film.

When questions from the audience were taken, one gentleman was called on and, in the course of his question/comments, apparently gave his interpretation of the director’s work. The director immediately jumped out of his seat. Glaring, he shook his finger at the audience member impudent enough to put forth his take, responding, “No! No! Don’t see your film in my film!” The whole room froze. After some uncomfortable moments, the flustered moderator quickly drew the question and answer period to a close.

What a change from a common response by an artist to the question: “What did [X] in your work mean?” The answer is so often something along the lines of: “Well…, it means whatever you think it means.” Ha! With this director, what he meant was his business, not yours. (You want to know what something means? Hey, you go write something!)

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