In his wonderful memoir “Shifting Point” Peter Brook, one of the greatest theater directors, wrote a little story about the origins of theater. So, the story goes…(to paraphrase Peter Brook) on the seventh day of creation, God decided to invent theater. He called his angels together and announced this in the following terms: “The theater will be the field in which people can learn to understand the sacred mysteries of the universe. And at the same time it will be a comfort to the drunkard and to the lonely.” The people responded with enthusiasm and quickly there were many groups writing plays and putting them on stages. But, the results were disappointing. Audiences did not like them. So, some writers, directors and actors commissioned an angel to go back to God to ask for help. The angel returned from God carrying a little box. The theater professionals gathered around the angel while he opened the box, took out a piece of paper and unfolded it. It contained one word: ‘INTEREST’. ‘Ahh’, the theater professionals sighed in unison, “We get it! It has to be interesting”… And so the story went.
I like this story very much and I think of it whenever I write a screenplay or embark on an adventure of making a film. Definitely, this story also applies to film, and maybe, even more so than to theater. We make films with a hope that many people will see them and, if we are lucky, like them. Of course it is important to understand that it is impossible to make a film that absolutely everyone would like. But, it is also important that as many people as possible enjoy a film, be moved by it and understand the story at least on some level. Everything else in the film beyond that, which is perhaps understood by a few, is just a great bonus. By ‘everything else’ I’m thinking of metaphors, symbols, hidden connotations inside of a story, exploration of film language, philosophical ideas, etc., elements that are not easily visible but are important in many good films.
I believe that the filmmaker should oblige the audience to use their imagination and to think beyond what has been overtly stated in a film. This makes the audience and each individual viewer effectively a co-creator of the film.
I hope that we produced a film of quality and substance that will attract and hold the attention of our audience. My greatest wish is that the audience will be involved and will empathize with the characters in our film.