Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Have You Been To Desire
American Cinema

Kofi Fosu Forson

I would quit my practice as an independent artist, never publish a book and become a tailor if it meant feeding into notion that image is everything.

I would rather be Spike Lee than Denzel Washington. The same goes for a life as Woody Allen than George Clooney.

Given that impression, I truly admire evolution of American artists in film. As we all remember Kevin Costner, the honorable American’s directorial success, Dances with Wolves, was an example of an actor who goes beyond his charm to indeed become an artist.

George Clooney is on his way amongst them to redeem himself of tabloid dreams and concentrate on re-establishing American cinema.

Paul Thomas Anderson is an example of that, a young filmmaker who goes through the great film schools to become legendary at a young age. John Singleton comes to mind. Artistry in this sense is not reminiscent of David Lynch or Jim Jarmusch. It’s more so the tradition that begot Scorsese, Spielberg and Lucas.

Who have existed as great filmmakers or even actors in modern American cinema? How far back do we have to go? Teen idols certified popularity of what we see now in young performers. This was true in film as well as music.

No one exemplified this more than James Dean. In both Nicholas Ray’s Rebel without a Cause as well as Giant he proved his authority and command over American film screen. Johnny Dep descends from this angle in his own phantasmagoric and at times illusive comedic brilliance.

Gordon Parks’ Shaft and Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider are worth mentioning. Uniquely, Clint Eastwood is an American treasure.

The idol found his calling in 80’s brat-pack movies much necessitated in what we found in Quinton Tarrantino. He proved once again that an artist hungry for creativity with knowledge of history can indeed make a quintessential American film, Pulp Fiction.

With success of Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and The Butterfly and The Coen Bothers’ No Country for Old Men, the torch has been passed on and the tradition continues.

Photo by Kobina Anan Jr.

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