Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

By Lars Trodson

Well, 2008 has come to a close and more than a few people have said this might have been the worst year ever. I don't necessarily buy into that -- perhaps it was just that we had a very, very bad year and it happened at a time when we are all tired, and beat up a little bit, and are looking forward to the future for respite from all the bleakness.

What 2008 also proved is that art sometimes needs a little conflict to thrive. There was a tremendous amount of art produced in 2008 -- and some of it even managed to get into the multiplex.

Maybe it proves a point. Remember the speech by Orson Welles at the end of "The Third Man" when he extolls the benefits of turmoil on art?

It goes like this:

"In Italy for thirty years under the Borgias they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed -- but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. In Switzerland they had brotherly love, five hundred years of democracy and what did that produce -- the cuckoo clock."

Never in a million years would we advocate for another 2008 in order to get a good movie or book, but what it does prove is the value of art, the comfort it can give us, and how it can symbolize our need to battle what is unpleasant around us.

There was certainly a lot of unpleasantness in 2008, but plenty of evidence of people fighting against it.

Here, then, is a wish for less ugliness in 2009, but for just as much effort, if not more, for people to try to eradicate it by producing something beautiful, something true.

Happy New Year from all of us at Roundtable Pictures.