Who still needs to weigh in on the Marvel vs Auteurs debate?

The discourse will not be satisfied until Terrence Malick descends from his mountaintop stronghold.


Charles Bramesco


It’s been a testy week in Tinseltown, as a mounting number of major filmmakers have spoken out against the culturally dominant forces of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Martin Scorsese compared the superhero tentpoles to theme parks, while Ken Loach likened them to hamburgers – both generally understood as pleasant things enjoyed by most people, and yet this was cause for great uproar among the diehard fan set.

Fernando Meirelles (“I tried to watch Deadpool 2 on a plane. I watched, like, half an hour and gave up”) and Francis Ford Coppola (“despicable”) have also chimed in with their opinions, leaving the headline-starved public wondering: who’s left? Here at LWLies, we’ve assembled a cursory lineup of the heavyweight filmmakers who are yet to give their opinions about comic book movies, and whether they represent the end of art as we know it. This press cycle cannot end until they have all been heard from.

Terrence Malick

The master made a rare appearance at Cannes earlier this year to show off his latest feature A Hidden Life, but maintains a notoriously press-shy lifestyle. Which brave soul will hike to the secluded mountain sanctuary in which he spends all his free time meditating while hovering two feet above the ground, and find out whether he thinks his paeans to the fickle mercy of an invisible-yet-present God possess an artistic worth roughly equivalent to that of Captain America: The Winter Soldier?

Apichatpong Weerasethakul

The onetime Palme d’Or winner is more plugged-in than most, posting his Cali vacation photos to Twitter like a flower-crowned Coachella attendee. Surely some intrepid reporter can get his take on the links between Ant-Man and his mystical, elemental expressions of the communion joining civilization with nature. Or at least Ant-Man and the Wasp. After all, what is the Pym particle if not another spark generated from the unending friction between humanity and the organic potentials we try in vain to harness?

Pedro Costa

Portugal’s slow cinema pioneer reappeared on the scene earlier this year with Vitalina Varela, his latest test of the film form’s tensile strength. His rigorous experimentation with time, rhythm, absence, and minimalist aesthetics has completely reoriented a generation of cinema scholarship, perhaps even created a new school of artistic thought entirely; did he prefer Guardians of the Galaxy or Guardian of the Galaxy Vol 2? We must know. The public deserves to know.

Hou Hsiao-Hsien

The Taiwanese great has grown less prolific over the past decade, gifting his dedicated devotees only one feature with 2015’s The Assassin. He’s gotten scarcer and scarcer in public life, and yet the influence of his canon – the elegant way it interweaves the vicissitudes of history through the intimate lives of ordinary people, his fearless long takes stripping actors down to the essentials of their performances – persists even as he withdraws. What did he make of Captain Marvel? Does he agree that punching little old ladies in the face is wrong, even if they’re shapeshifting aliens in disguise? Millennium Mambo and Three Times were both pretty good, but they left this question tantalisingly un-answered.

The ghost of Agnès Varda

One of the most esteemed talents in the history of French moving pictures shuffled off her mortal coil back in the springtime, leaving behind an incalculable legacy on the art form and the way we understand it. If a mortal being could transcend the divides between this plane and the next, perhaps they could check in with her about how she – in her infinite posthumous wisdom – liked Avengers: Endgame. “Quoi?” she might say, and you’d respond, “The fourth one. Well, the sequel to the third one. The second half of the third one, technically, which is to say both a sequel and a continuation of a sequel. And it also corresponds to Spider-Man, I think,” and then she’ll pretend to be getting a heaven-call on her heaven-cell-phone.

Published 22 Oct 2019

Tags: Ken Loach Martin Scorsese Marvel MCU

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