Movie Article

Fresh Cuts

It seems as if new directors aren't changing the way we look at films. What happened? Check out this week's Ask the Critic question, then post your own.

What happened to the fresh directors?

Starting about 10 years ago, we saw the arrival of fresh cinematic scriptures from Todd Solondz, Paul Thomas Anderson, Christopher Nolan, Wes Anderson, and others. It seems as if recently, though, new directors aren't changing the way we look at films. — Ken

I agree with you, though let's declare at the outset: The fresh talent hasn't stopped arriving. I'm thinking of such new and vital storytellers as Phil Morrison (Junebug), Craig Brewer (Hustle & Flow), Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby), and Kelly Reichardt (Old Joy). Yet these are traditionalists, not revolutionaries. I think the reason we saw such a burst of form-altering artists in the second half of the '90s boils down to one factor: They were all reacting to the revolution that was Pulp Fiction. Tarantino's 1994 landmark smashed the rules of time, taste, and taboo, and the directors you mentioned — and also Darren Aronofsky, Spike Jonze, and Danny Boyle — took its fearlessness and spun it in their own directions. They were the aftershocks set off by Quentin's earthquake.

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Originally posted May 30, 2007 Published in issue #935 May 25, 2007 Order article reprints