Hip Directors

The Art of Cinema

These young auteurs are transforming cinema one film at a time. Even if each film is basically the same as the last. In these excerpts from their newest ventures, we see them condense their bold visions into the most perfect forms yet.

The Aesthetic Fantastical
by Wes Anderson
[A toy train races around a gorgeously painted mid-’50s track while piano music plays. The camera follows it around until the director remembers there are people in the movie.]
Jason Schwartzman: Oh, hello. Welcome to my mansion. We’re all one big dysfunctional family here. But damn if we don’t all look great.
Luke Wilson: Hey, I like your blazer.
Jason Schwartzman: Thanks. I like your peacoat. There’s one thing you should know about our family–we’re always getting into zany subplots. Look out, here comes one now!
[Eccentric Uncle rushes past in a regal maroon bathrobe, followed by an Eccentric Aunt powdering her face and an Eccentric Cohort of Midget Servants balancing tea sets.]
Jason Schwartzman: Wasn’t that quirky? It’s not all fun and games, though. We’re all very sad on the inside. Hey guys! Come stand over here. We all need to line up picturesquely.
Owen Wilson: Right on, man. Just let me get my motif ready.
[Owen Wilson adjusts his cowboy hat, showing his preoccupation with childish symbols of masculinity.]
Bill Murray: Is my tweed whimsical enough?
Jason Schwartzman: It’s perfect. Everybody ready? … set … mope!
[‘60s folk music plays while everybody stares into space.]
Jason Schwartzman: Fantastic! Now who’s down for some color-coordinated lawn bowling?
[Everybody is.]

The Gimmick
by Christopher Nolan
[The Anguished Hero cocks a gun at the Smarmy Villain.]
Anguished Hero: I’ve figured it out! Why time’s moving backwards, and why everyone has a twin brother, and why you keep showing up in my dreams! It all fits some kind of–of theme! And you’re behind it!
Smarmy Villain [chuckling]: Then you haven’t figured it out at all. There is no theme. There is only the Gimmick.
Anguished Hero: The Gimmick?
Smarmy Villain: The Gimmick is the inscrutable force that controls all of our actions. You see, your own twin brother has convinced you that time is moving backwards. And your twin brother is an apparition from your dreams! And the versions of me that you see in your dream are twin brothers of my own clones! Do you understand?
Anguished Hero: No?
Smarmy Villain: Good! Because once you understand the Gimmick, your whole adventure will become pointless! You’ll go, like, “hm,” and that will be it! Your life is only interesting until the moment you figure the Gimmick out!
Anguished Hero: That sounds like a terrible payoff.
Smarmy Villain: You’d be surprised how many people find it worthwhile.

Editing: The Movie
by Darren Aronofsky
[Close-up of Natalie Portman practicing ballet.]
Natalie Portman: [groans]
[Extreme close-up of Natalie Portman’s straining muscle.]
[Extremer close-up of Natalie Portman’s eyeball.]
[Cut to a single frame of two lesbians doing it, in extreme close-up.]
Natalie Portman: [grunts]
[Extreme close-up of Natalie Portman’s tattered shoes.]
[Camera spins around Natalie Portman’s head. In extreme close-up.]
[Split-screen of two lesbians doing it and the same two lesbians doing it with another lesbian, both in extreme close-up.]
Natalie Portman [grunting]: …art.

Being Charlie Kaufman
by Charlie Kaufman
[Two Charlie Kaufman-esque screenwriters sit in a cafe discussing their latest work.]
Karlie Chaufman: So right now in my screenplay I, Karlie Chaufman, am in a cafe with my friend, Carlie Khaufman, and we’re talking about the writing process.
Carlie Khaufman: What a coincidence! I’m also writing a screenplay in which I, Carlie Khaufman, talk about my screenplay with my writer friend, Karlie Chaufman.
Karlie Chaufman: In mine, I pretend to hate myself, but I do it in this insufferable way where I’m clearly sort of bragging about what a true artist I am.
Carlie Khaufman: In mine, I repeatedly reference the fact that I am writing a movie, which is clearly the movie I am starring in, then I reference the fact that I am referencing that fact, then I reference the fact that I am referencing the fact that I…
Waitress: Excuse me, but I couldn’t help overhearing. Wouldn’t your movies be a little more interesting if you made them about something other than yourselves?
[The writers laugh.]
Karlie Chaufman: No, see, our movies are for smart people.
[The waitress walks off. The writers furiously write her into their screenplays, then resume talking about themselves.]