It was winter of 2010. Or was it a little after? 2010 – 2011, to make it easier. I had learned some time ago, that there was a German film that was really well regarded, my pen pal had written me. She had said that it was a great film and a lot of folks enjoyed it.
It was only until this moment that I had one day stumbled upon the same name on the schedule at the Baytowne Theatre.
So, I called up my screenwriting pals and we all agreed to check out this film.
The experience was great. For us, it was meditative and moving at a quieter pace and had a dream-like approach. The bonus was the part when in the middle of the film, the projector had a meltdown and suddenly the film cut off right when there was a shot of a vacuum cleaner clean the floors of a library.
It was too perfect for us because this it gave us a moment to snap back to reality and discuss quietly what was going on before diving back into the film. Overall, there were neat little surprises like when Columbo came into the picture or how the latter half cut to colorized film and was like a breath of fresh air from the lovely but serious tone of the black and white first half.
It was a film that broke all the rules and for screenwriting studies, it was the much-needed relief from all the Syd Field and Blake Synder and Michael Hauge crap that was forced feed into our consciousness. It was the pretty much the ultimate anti-structure film that went against all that was being taught and reinforced.
We joked about submitting the film screenplay as our own to our instructor to see if it would be regarded as garbage. It was a good laugh and a good night.
The film changed my life because it reminded us that despite all the structure (which I do believe is an integral part of any storytelling endeavor), sometimes you need to learn all that you can and then simply forget it all and see if it successfully fused with your internal instincts as a filmmaker. It showed us a view that was unlike the North American approach of a crash and bang and declaring of acts.
It was quiet. Powerful. And overall, a love of life and all that made us human and more.