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Is 'good cinema' templatized?


I’m no film expert/connoisseur. I just love movies and these are just a few thoughts I've been having over time.

Is it just me or do you feel 'good cinema' is templatized to an extent? Has 'good writing' become predictable?


A few reasons why I think so:


1. No irrelevant characters: If it's 'good cinema' made by a 'good director', a character can't just be introduced for no reason. If he is, certainly he has a role to play later. Because all characters would have arcs and purposes. And they'd all be written ‘well’. For example, Cyrus Sahukar’s character introduction in Rang De Basanti in one of the early scenes had me wondering, why that scene happened. He is a recognizable face and his appearance in a fleeting, irrelevant scene can't be without a follow-up. As expected, he turns out to be the RJ later in the radio station. So he was established early on. So the moment you see such a scene, you are constantly wondering when he/she would be introduced again and what important role would he/she play.

2. No irrelevant character traits: If it's good cinema and if a character has a unique ability of some kind; it is going to be put to use in a critical scene later or be an important aspect of plot development. For example, if the character's introduction scene shows him/her winning a memory competition in school...surely his/her memory is going to help fight the monster later or solve some puzzles & catch the culprit. So if you're a regular ‘good cinema’ watcher, it'll keep nagging you as to why the writer established this special ability early on. Surely, it has some role later and you keep waiting for it. ‘Good writers’ wouldn’t purposelessly detail a character trait on screen.


3. Protagonist's Character Arcs usually mean travelling to the opposite spectrum: If the protagonist is very timid, to begin with, surely there's a coming-of-age that's due. He/She is going to surprise & an event is going to bring about the change. If the character is very brash early on, something along the way is going to sensitise him/her. The character is going to probably find deep love/realisation, etc. A timid character doesn't travel the arc where he/she becomes even more timid by the end of the movie and a brash character doesn't become even more brash by the end of the movie. Coz it's good cinema. The timid becomes strong and the strong becomes sensitive. Predictably.


4. Moral plot developments: the harmless comedian won't die halfway through the film for sure. A well-developed character isn't gonna leave for vacation suddenly. In good cinema, the progression of events is always thematic and accidents have no role. So the villain can't die in an accident. He has to be defeated.

Good cinema, can you have a little bit of irrelevance here and there? Some pointless embellishments? Some tangential meandering? Not so taut, please! It'll make the watching experience more interesting and unpredictable. B Prasanna



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