Saturday, 13 June 2009

Quote for the Week

Earlier this week I watched Jacques Tourneur's rather great film Night of the Demon for the first time. Though less well known than some of his other work, I think it's my favourite from the ones that I've seen, slightly flawed though it is. Looking for material to read on the film I came across Curse of the Demon: Of Evil, Myth and Reason by Pedro Blas Gonzalez on the ever-dependable Senses of Cinema. One of the things which struck me most about the essay was its final quote from Jung, which I am therefore reproducing here as my 'Quote of the Week':

One of the most fatal of the sociological and psychological errors in which our time is so fruitful is the supposition that something can become entirely different all in a moment; for instance, that man can radically change his nature, or that some formula or truth might be found which would represent an entirely new beginning.

- C. G. Jung, Psychology and the Occult (quoted
in Curse of the Demon: Of Evil, Myth and Reason).

As well as offering an interesting perspective on human psychology in general, I think the quote is especially interesting when applied to the common conception of screenwriting, and in particular to the idea that all of the characters have to undergo a major change – and often a sudden, last minute change at that. In my opinion Jung, and indeed Night of the Demon, show us a much more interesting, and much less pat, path that I wish was explored in far more films.

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Gerry said...

Hi Alex,

I agree with you, this need for change is a bit too ubiquitous in film. Over a five series TV show maybe, but in two hours?

I'm currently writing a screenplay, the second of two involving the same character, in which a character goes against his publicly percieved nature and seems to undergo change, but I'm trying to show that the 'change' was desired subconciously and maybe a little conciously for a long time before it happened. The events of the film catalysed the 'change' and the 'change' was not actually change at all but was in him all along. He never had the life experience to realise this quality / feeling in himself as he is a teenager from a very specific background with limited opportunities to experience different viewpoints.

I think that you and Jung are right in that 'something can become entirely different all in a moment' is a bit optimistic. I think that someones essential nature can be influenced over time or, as I alluded to re my screenplays, can be allowed to develope and flower. My experience of life is that in the real world the change represented in films would be part of a process in which the change might possibly lead to a brief euphoria but then might be backtracked on and there would follow a series of steps backwards and forwards over a period of time which may or may not lead to long term change.

lawyerjourno said...

something can become entirely different all in a moment'// this indeed is an over optimism. Change itself is slow!!