I strive to know as little as possible about a piece of art before imbibing.
The reason: I prefer to construct my own, maximally-untainted frame to understand what the art is, based solely on its contents, detached from all the surrounding noise capable of (erroneously?) shaping my fundamental perspective.
This artistic tabula-rasa is like an enzyme catalyzing the activity of my viewing experience; I’m constantly engaged in trying to figure out and piece together what the art before me is. Though this habit may lead me astray down paths unintended by the creators, it also opens me up to different interpretations of the art from the norm.
Case in point: the movie Il Buco, now in theaters.
Bereft of any prior context, I found it damn near impossible to deduce whether it was a cinéma vérité documentary…or a slice-of-life, fly-on-the-wall, starkly independent picture. Given the languorous pace, aesthetic minimalism, and lack of celebrities in many indies, Il Buco can exist in a tantalizingly enigmatic purgatory between the two genres, without obvious indicators on screen to lead us witnesses.
This malleability fueled a train of thought: how and why does this genre ambiguity alter my perception and conception of the movie? For an audience, how and why does the knowledge of whether what we’re watching is fiction or documentary change our relationship to the very same depictions?
Potent queries to ponder…which would’ve never occurred to me if I was already aware that Il Buco is [redacted].
Challenge yourself to experiment with my blank-slate approach one of these days; it can be a fruitful endeavor, bearing…unexpected fruit.