We recently got the Vincent Ward movie ‘What Dreams May Come’ (stars Robin Williams) out of the local DVD dispenser. And a very uninspiring dispenser it is at that. The one in Aro Street is a legend, but like all the best legends, is in the distant past. Well, too far to walk in a humane time scale – they’d have to start 27 day rentals to make it worth our while.
I find Vincent Ward movies are always upsetting – not necessarily in a negative way, but upsetting in that they upset my perspective of the world – and I’m always better for that. The movies I’ve seen by Vincent Ward (I’ve yet to see the latest filmed on the Whanganui River) always have a consistent theme of being love stories. Not the sickly sweet chick-flick kind of love story, but more like ‘dis-functional’ (see also: realistic) love stories where what at first is strange to us becomes commonplace, or normal, quite quickly. And that’s perhaps part of why they’re disturbing to me – I can relate to the idea that although this is not somewhere I’d want to go I can see that I could. In my own life I’m surprised at how quickly we adapt – weird and scary becomes acceptable.
‘In Spring One Plants Alone’ deals with the love between an old woman and her disabled grandson.
‘Vigil’ deals with love of a desparately lonely and tortured kind.
‘The Navigator’ deals with love of life, the failure of youth and strength.
‘Alien 3′ deals with the love between a mother and her baby.
‘Map of the Human Heart’ deals with love between a man and a woman under trying circumstances in different cultural milieu.
‘What Dreams May Come’ deals with the love of a man for his wife and family.
Peter Jackson now lives quite near to Ward’s old home town, but from a story telling point of view I regard Jackson as the kind of person to spend an enthralling long wet afternoon with. Ward is someone to cozy up to at night when the bitter southerlies shake the house and gaunt strangers stalk the misty pavements. Jackson’s story telling, to me, is about ordering a coffee; Ward’s is more likely to provoke ordering something strong, darker, and shorter – ideally something that doesn’t make me have to go out by myself, in the dark, to use the men’s room or anything else for that matter. Ward may be New Zealand’s nearest-to-horror story teller.
I would like to see the movie-child made between Vincent Ward and Terry Gilliam. To me, they have a very similar feeling to their directing and writing styles; and visually, the scenes are often reminiscent of each other. I like this.