Monday, March 18, 2013
If someone were to ask me which filmmaker is my greatest inspiration, there would be no contest. Only one fits that bill in my book -- M. Night Shyamalan.
I feel that we are kindred spirits when it comes to filmmaking. I really didn't see the connection until I'd written a few screenplays and discovered that the stories I like to tell are similar to those of Shyamalan. We both write about the supernatural, the spiritual, the magical and the mysterious -- stories that raise philosophical questions about life.
In my research, I was surprised to learn that we also share the same approach to filmmaking. In fact, I noted similarities in the way we think about movies in general. Like Shyamalan, my strengths are story and cinematography and I'm less concerned about special effects. So for me, there is a distinctive creative connection to Shyamalan.
Even in his "weakest" films, his passion and talent as a storyteller come through loud and clear. Not all his movies care critically acclaimed or appreciated by audiences. For him, it's about the story he wants to tell. Some people get it and some people don't. And that's okay.
Signs (2002) is my favorite of all Shyamalan's films. The story of a man struggling with his faith is told amid the setting of an Alien invasion.
Other faves include:
The Sixth Sense (1999) -- A boy has the ability to see into the spirit world of the dead.
Unbreakable (2000) -- A thriller suspense story about a man who discovers that his body is indestructible. He encounters a man who is his polar opposite.
Lady in the Water (2006) -- An apartment building manager finds a woman in the pool and learns that she is a character in a bedtime story who has a message for mankind.
The Village (2004) -- A community of people live in an isolated Pennsylvania village surrounded on all sides by a thick forest. They dare not venture into the woods for fear of what lies beyond.
Other films written and directed by Shyamalan:
The Last Airbender (2010) -- A fantasy story about the adventures of a young Avatar.
The Happening (2008) -- Science and Nature collide creating bizarre behavior among humans.
Wide Awake (1998) -- A boy searches for God after his grandfather dies.
Praying with Anger (1992) -- An American teen of East Indian heritage goes back to India where he searches for his roots (features Shyamalan in the starring role).
Shyamalan wrote the screenplay for Stuart Little (1999), the story of a family that adopts a mouse (adapted from E. B. White's popular children's book).
Shyamalan created the story for Devil (2010), about a group of people trapped in an elevator with the Devil.
After Earth (2013) Shyamalan's newest film is a futuristic story of a father and son who are stranded on earth 1000 years after all humanity has been evacuated.
Do you have a favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie?