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Sand Storm

A fairly familiar critique of patriarchy from a humanist and feminist perspective, but one that’s put across with some very impressive filmmaking skills by a…

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Deepwater Horizon

Everything here feels routine—more like an inevitability than a work of art or even a piece of entertainment.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Art is hard work

From: Brandon Taylor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada

I'd agree with Joe Sszczepaniak on a few points he made about becoming an
artist, and not being born one. In terms of skill and style and abilities, those have to be honed. But when it comes to the desire and the tenacity to BECOME an artist, it requires the heart of one to achieve that. You can't just BE a great painter, that much is true, but the will to become one is most important.

That's what a real artist is in my eyes. It comes from the fact that I'm a screenwriter, at least I think I am. Like most writers I have absolutely no idea how to write, but I try my best and every once in a while I come out with something that equates to 120 pages of story. Sometimes it's 10 pages of story, and 110 pages of something else. Whatever the case, it takes a while and a lot of work.

But was I born a writer? Was that my will from birth? Of course not. I wanted to be a Fireman, or an Astronaut, or a doctor... or something that we'd basically consider heroic at that age. No one is born wanting to be Dickens or Lehman or both. We're born with the idea of heroism. The difference is that when you grow older, your heroes change and so do your goals.

If your goal is to be an artist, then you are an artist. If you work at it, you're dedicated. So you're never technically born an artist, but the seed is always planted from day one. I might not have expected to be a writer when I was five, but I certainly had it in me somewhere. Now that I'm working at it, I think it would've been easier to just be a couch potato.

But we all have our heroes.

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