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6rant6's avatar

Can you identify this story about filmmaking?

Asked by 6rant6 (13629 points ) August 12th, 2011

I’m trying to find the source of this story. It was related to me as factual. Whether it is true isn’t important, but I’d like to find out where it came from.

A filmmaker with a successful film was approached by a novice filmmaker who challenged the old pro to remake his move five times, each time given a tighter restriction made up by the novice.

Although the experienced filmmaker railed against the restrictions he remade the movie four times – each time agreeing that the film was better than all previous versions despite – or perhaps because of – the restriction.

But at the fifth restriction, he balked and the novice eventually gave in, and said remake the thing however you want. That version was the worst of the lot.

And the experienced filmmaker conceded that the limitations were necessary for him to produce art or whatever.

Anyone?

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5 Answers

lillycoyote's avatar

I don’t know what the source is but I really, really doubt that it’s true. Who exactly do you think would pay to have the same movie made 5 times on the whim of some novice filmmaker making some kind of bet with a pro? Films don’t get made that way. Someone has to pay for them and they are very expensive to make. Someone is generally more than lucky to have someone come up with the money to get one filmmaker’s film made once. It think it’s more of a parable of sorts, that sometime rules and restrictions can increase creativity rather than stifle them and that complete artistic freedom to do whatever one wants doesn’t always end in the best result.

CunningLinguist's avatar

I agree with @lillycoyote that it’s probably apocryphal. It does pretty much sum up how Bach composed his music, though.

Megan64's avatar

Yes. I think I saw a documentary on this or something like it. I want to say it was Dutch? Let me look into it and I’ll repost.

Edit: Is it this? The Five Obstructions?
It’s definitely what I was thinking of, though may not be what you were thinking of.

lillycoyote's avatar

@Megan64 Wow. Good for you! That has got to be it. The Five Obstructions. I can’t imagine it being anything else. You’re awesome!

6rant6's avatar

Thanks Megan. Bloodhound award to you! @Megan64

Great explanation in Ebert’s review… http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040910/REVIEWS/409100307/1023

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