Quentin Dupieux and the Power of Supreme Ambiguity
A truly great word, in my opinion, has to meet a lot of different criteria. It can’t be too short, but it also can’t be too long. It can’t have too many consonants, and it can’t have too many vowels. It has to be aesthetically pleasing, sound nice, and most importantly, it has to have an interesting meaning. Out of all of the words in the English language, ‘ambiguous’ is my favorite.
I think this stems largely from the fact that ambiguity plays a huge role in my life, and the older I get the more I’ve learned to appreciate it, particularly in art. If something is ambiguous, it is, in short, “open to interpretation.” And most of the time, it gets a pretty bad rap. In museums, art galleries, and film festivals around the world, voices can be heard whispering to each other “I don’t get it.” The thing is, we don’t have to always “get it.” Straight forward, black and white art is boring, which is why people don’t get excited to go out and see Transformers 8 or what ever lazily scripted block buster is in theaters during any given week. Hollywood assumes that Americans aren’t capable of enjoying anything that confuses them, and the sad thing is that we’re proving them right much of the time. Worse yet, ‘ambiguity’ is thrown around like a bad word in our education system. Today, somewhere in America, a student’s writing was given the critique: “It’s good, but this part is a bit ambiguous.” Evan Puschak, in his analysis Under The Skin: The Pain of Art House Films, explains our refusal to accept a lack of explanation.
“…supreme ambiguity as a category rarely attracts investment. The reason for this is contemptible but obvious: The lack of explanation or closure is painful…An unwillingness to serve up that [ambiguity] to film goers, that pain, that anxiety has ruled Hollywood from the start.”
Once we abandon the notion that we have to have everything laid out before us in an easy to understand way, there is a whole world of incredible art to enjoy. My favorite director, and primary inspiration is a man called Quentin Dupieux. He is a French filmmaker, techno producer, and king of bizarre surrealist masterpieces. This is a clip from his most recent film Reality. (Contains minor curse words in French)
A trailer for another of his films, Wrong.
That happens to be all I have for this week. Embrace ambiguity. Watch a strange film. Look for the beauty in unanswerable questions.