Mumbo jumbo

Três notas sobre M. Night Shyamalan, seguidas de uma citação:

1) Dos seus sete filmes, vi cinco. Um de que gostei bastante (Unbreakable), outro que achei interessante (The Sixth Sense) e três que detestei (Signs, The Village, Lady in the Water).

2) Alguns entusiastas de Shyamalan estão entre os críticos e cinéfilos que mais respeito, e naturalmente ouço e leio com atenção os seus argumentos.

3) Creio que começa a emergir uma fraude lamentável, que consiste em considerar Shyamalan um efabulador genial e um metafísico subtil. Pela minha parte, não vejo mais que um ingénuo simpático que quer fazer passar a sua ingenuidade por sofisticação.

Algumas objecções pertinentes ao cinema de Shyamalan estão neste artigo de Michael Atkinson no Village Voice (já citado pelo Luís), texto que aqui reproduzo parcialmente:

It would be a mighty sweet thing to see M. Night Shyamalan as the great redemptive storyteller he clearly thinks he is (...) In a way Shyamalan yearns to be modern movies' W. Somerset Maugham or even Stephen King, a compulsive story-lover dismissive of both postmodernism and technology, and what he promises is gobbled up (...)

Shyamalan certainly uses all of that and more in his constructions; it's the stories that are the problem. That is to say, nothing will prepare you (...) for the rampant foolishness of Lady in the Water. The Village, his last, distended elegy for Rod Serling, is, well, Rod Serling by comparison. It's as if on some semiconscious level, Shyamalan, who I do not doubt is a serious and self-serious pop-creative original, is calling his own success into question and daring his audience to gulp down larger and spikier clusters of manure, just to see if they will. Or he's lost his mind.

This isn't magical realism, it's pure magical thinking—Shyamalan is mystically assuming that any idea or image that pops into his skull will make a shapely tale, no matter how much cock-and-bull logic he has to invent to Gorilla Glue it together. Like all his movies from The Sixth Sense on, Lady pivots on the dawning awareness of a vast cosmic plan, foisted on grieving parents and spouses as a holy scab for their wounds. It's beginning to chafe as a formula; I suspect Shyamalan's stock is long worthless among viewers who know about loss for real. Authorial vision is a non-issue, in the face of so much repetitive, rootless mumbo jumbo.