‘An incredibly couture boutique storytelling venture’

A new David Fincher movie is always cause for celebration, not least because it means he’s going to be doing press for it. Because in my mind, Fincher’s second greatest talent is giving terrifically insightful, blunt, funny interviews about moviemaking, like this one from Vulture:

In that regard, there are two lines I want to ask you to unpack a little. One is from Kael’s essay. She writes, “The director should be in control, not because he’s the sole creative intelligence, but because only if he is in control can he liberate and utilize the talents of his coworkers.”

Pauline Kael knew a lot about watching movies. What Pauline Kael didn’t know about making movies could fill volumes, and I believe ultimately that to the detriment of cinema is the notion that everything is intentioned — this notion that the moviemaking process is like NASA. Yeah, you can have an O-ring disaster, but for the most part, you’re testing the welds, the bolts, the electrical, and then when it gets off the launch pad you’re going, “Yeah, that’s what we intended it to do.” The movie business is not like that. The movie business is an incredibly couture boutique storytelling venture, and every single designer at the head of his house works in a different way. You are stitching those garments onto bodies up to the last 45 seconds before that person walks that runway. It’s a shitshow, an incredibly chaotic circus. It’s not cold and it’s not calculable. It’s a warm, wet art.

As a small-time filmmaker, it’s always encouraging to be reminded that big-time filmmaking is also a shitshow. It’s not necessarily that us small-timers are doing it wrong, it’s just the nature of the business.