I like reality; it's realism I can't stand

tl;ngtr – Realism in films is a safe place to hide not to create a story, interest or tension.

I never understood tl;dr – you put the short stuff at the top.

For those of you who agtr, here is the edited, and still relevant version of why I fucking hate realism as a film genre/style, from the piece on the execrable Kill List:

In 1946, some idiot named Mr. Roberto Rossellini made a film called Rome, Open City, thinking that showing real life was a great way to save money. The critics, unsurprisingly, agreed. Two years later, another idiot called Mr. Hans Morganthau wrote a book about how it was basically okay for states to do whatever they wanted, since this behavior would somehow balance itself out. States, unsurprisingly, agreed.

In an inspired rhetorical coup, both movements took the title of ‘Realism’, thinking, very correctly, that no matter how dull the subject matter or inane the explanation, the name itself was a really good way to win arguments. You’re a Marxist? That’s nice, but I’m a realist. You make films with well constructed characters, dialog and theme? Well, I’m a realist. You’re a member of the The Official Monster Raving Loony Party? Well, that’s actually pretty great. You win. But realism is totally second place.

I hate realism, of both types, and for many reasons. The kind that annihilates everyone on earth with a nuclear war and then tells us it was rational, we’ll just leave that to the side for now. Actually, that’s not fair. We’d all be dead, so they couldn’t tell us anything. They’d say it was rational before we were disintegrated into our component elements. I wouldn’t want to make it sound like they were idiots.

Realists in film, likewise, want to escape the responsibility of creating tension, and measure their success in terms of how much they captured real life. Well, how much they fooled you into thinking they captured real life. Well, how much they fooled themselves into thinking they fooled you into thinking they captured real life. Whenever something is undramatic, insightless, or utterly lacking in tension, the realist genre gives the filmmaker the ultimate cop-out: but that’s the way it would happen, man. The two-fold problem being that A) No, it wouldn’t, and B) You know, with all the limitations of the fact that it was totally staged, of course.

Additionally (sgtr?), I realize when publishing a review of my own film, that realism is an emotional hiding place for the filmmakers. I did¬†not make a realist film; my evil manifests in other ways, as you see. What I did do, in retrospect, is hide the theme and story of my film. It’s scary being vulnerable, and saying – out loud – what you mean to say opens you up to criticism. Well, critics anyway, and realism, ironically given its name, is the easy way out.

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